WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Fairfax County police say a man has turned himself in topoliceafteracab driver said he was punched repeatedly by a passenger because he isMuslim.
On Thursday, a spokesperson said that Ed Dahlbergwascharged with misdemeanor assault before signing a personal recognizance bond and being released.
The exchange between the taxi driver and Dahlberg was caught on cell phone video. Mohamed Salim had already been on high alert from the recent backlash after the Boston Bombings and a spike in hate crime.
So early last Friday morning when he picked up his passenger, he says he had a gut feeling things may not go well and started recording on his cell phone.Much of it is in the dark, the conversation is laced with profanity and at one point you see the passenger.
Muhamed Salim says he picked up Ed Dahlberg at the Fairfax Country Club 2 a.m. last Friday. The conversation turned first to death threats.
Cell phone video: "I will slice your throat now."
It quickly escalated to violence.
Salim says he's punched several times. He says Dahlberg leaves the cab and comes back to punch him again.
Cell phone video: "why you punching me? Why you punching me?"
You don't see violence in the video but here's Dahlberg's response to the question:
Cell phone video: "because you are a piece of s*** Muslim"
In medical records Salim suffered a broken jaw and head injury.
Salim said, "I don't deserve it. Mr. Dahlberg treat me like this because I'm a Muslim."
Ed Dahlberg would not go on camera for an interview but through his attorney he released a statement. He says he didn't assault Salim.
Salim says he's angry now but he was scared at the time.
The cab ride began he thought as an innocent conversation.
Salim says he served in Iraq, and he's a middle east expert, who helped the military understand his culture. He says that's what hurts the most: "Why emotional? I put my life in danger. I am a U.S. Army sergeant."
Salim says the mention of the Boston bombings happened after he stopped recording to call 9-1-1.
Salim held the press conference at the Coalition on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) where he is being represented by one of their attorney's.
They are appalled that Dahlberg has only been charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony hate crime. They have contacted the Fairfax County Commonwealth's attorney to see if the charges will be upgraded.
Dahlberg's attorney releases statement:
"Mr. Dahlberg's comments to Mr. Salim were regretful, and he apologizes to anyone who found them offensive. Anyone who listens to the entire conversation and views the entire tape will hear that most of the conversation had a friendly tone.
Unfortunately, it got emotional as the discussion turned to Jihad and 9/11, and especially heated on the subject of jihadists who want to harm America. Mr. Dahlberg regrets becoming emotional.
Like many Americans, 9/11 had a profound impact on Mr. Dahlberg. He certainly didn't mean to cause offense to Mr. Salim or the Islamic community.
Mr. Dahlberg asserts there was no subsequent interaction between the two beyond what was captured on the tape. Further, Mr. Dahlberg did not assault Mr. Salim at any time, nor did he get violent in any way."
Demetry Pikrallidas, Esq.
Pikrallidas & Associates Law Offices