VIRGINIA

Ed Dahlberg Muslim taxi driver assault charges dropped before trial

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP/WJLA) - Fairfax County prosecutors have dropped criminal charges against a Virginia man who was shown on video hurling insults at a Muslim cabdriver.

The cab driver, Mohamed Salim of Great Falls, recorded the video on April 26, less than two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings. Salim says his passenger, Ed Dahlberg, hit him and broke his jaw in a confrontation that occurred after the video recording.

During the video, Dahlberg, who was charged with misdemeanor assault, can be heard and seen hurling profane and racist slurs toward Salim, including a demand that he denounce the terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks.

In court Thursday, prosecutors said they do not believe Salim's story. They say the timing of the 911 call makes it impossible for Salim's account to be accurate.

"What I learned is they're encouraging hate and fearmongering," Salim said. "we have to stop this."

Part of that argument centered around the argument that only 10 seconds passed between the time that Salim ended his video recording and when he called 911. Defense attorneys argued that it wasn't enough time for Salim to incur the injuries he claimed.

"At first, he claimed he was assaulted in the cab and had the whole assault on film," a Commonwealth's attorney said. "He later changed that to say that the defendant left the cab, came back and assaulted him."

Salim said he is outraged by the decision. Dahlberg's lawyers say their client's anti-Muslim rant was unfortunate, but that he never hit Salim and was targeted because he is wealthy.

"Once he mentioned to the cab driver what he did (and) how much he made by selling airplanes and things like that, he became a very definite target," John Zwerling, Dahlberg's attorney, said.

Officials with the Council of American-Islamic Relations, the group that helped represent Salim, said in a statement after the decision that they would press the Department of Justice to pursue charges.

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