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No criminal charges for Cedar Rapids officer who shot at man following chase
Man who struck reserve officer with his car as the shooting occurred faces a string of charges
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids police reserve officer who fired three shots at a driver who struck the officer with his car Dec. 17, 2021 — and then fled for four weeks until being arrested — will not face charges, the Linn County Attorney’s office announced Friday.
Reserve Officer Scott Fruehling, who has been employed with the department since September 1994, tried to stop a vehicle at 8:36 p.m. Dec. 17 on 32nd Street NE. A short chase ensued to the 1600 block of Center Street NE, where the car finally stopped.
Fruehling, who was in uniform, exited his marked squad car and started to give the driver instructions to get out of his car, Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said in the report.
“The driver, later identified as Eddie Ayers III, did not exit the vehicle and, instead, backed up and turned the vehicle 180 degrees and drove toward officer Fruehling and his squad car,” Maybanks wrote.
“With the suspect vehicle coming at him, and believing his life was in danger, Officer Fruehling discharged one round of his service weapon one time into the vehicle at the driver as the car hit him and knocked him to the ground. While still on the ground, Officer Fruehling discharged two more rounds at the vehicle,” the report states.
Dash and body camera footage:
The report does not say whether Ayers, 26, of Cedar Rapids, was struck by any of the shots before he drove to the end of 34th Street NE and then ran away. Maybanks told The Gazette Friday he did not think Ayers had been injured in the shooting.
Ayers was arrested Jan. 14 and faces a variety of charges, including assault on a peace officer, use and display of a weapon, interference with official acts with a dangerous weapon, eluding resulting in injury and some traffic violations.
Fruehling sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from a hospital, police previously said. The agency said Dec. 22 Fruehling would not perform any police duties while the shooting was investigated.
The police department asked the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to investigate the officer-involved shooting, but the state agency declined. The department did its own internal investigation, Maybanks said.
Maybanks said he reviewed police narratives and reports as well as video from the squad car and Fruehling’s body camera. Friday’s report includes photos from the video and of Fruehling’s injuries.
“The investigation concludes that the deadly force used by Officer Fruehling against the driver was reasonable under Iowa law (Iowa Code section 704),” Linn County reported. “It was reasonable to believe this deadly force was necessary to avoid injury or risk to Officer Fruehling's life and was necessary to resist the threat of deadly force he faced when the driver of the vehicle drove directly at him.”
Fruehling has been a teacher at Marion High School for 31 years and now is head softball coach, Linn County reported.
Cedar Rapids reserve officers are volunteers who, under direction of command staff, provide services that include augmenting traffic and patrol shifts, river patrol during the summer, traffic and crowd control for July 4 festivities, dignitary security, correction officer assistance, bicycle patrol and other services as required, according to the police department’s website. The department is not taking applications for reserve officers at this time, the site states.
Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman Mike Battien would not answer further questions about the investigation, including whether Fruehling would be allowed to return to police duties or whether there would be any review of the reserve unit.
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