The Linn County Attorney’s Office has completed an investigation into the officer-involved shooting that occurred in the 1600 block of Center St. NE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Dec. 17, 2021. The incident involved Reserve Officer Scott Fruehling of the Cedar Rapids Police Department. As part of the investigation, Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks reviewed all police narratives and reports generated in this case as well as squad car and body cam footage from the officer involved. Pictures of the officer's injuries were reviewed as well. Through the factual findings of the investigation, County Attorney Maybanks has concluded that criminal charges against Reserve Officer Scott Fruehling of the Cedar Rapids Police Department are not warranted.
Summary of Incident
On December 17, 2021, Reserve Officer Scott Fruehling of the Cedar Rapids Police Department attempted a traffic stop of a vehicle in the 1800 block of 42nd St. NE in Cedar Rapids. The vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit followed with emergency lights and sirens activated. At one point during the pursuit, the suspect vehicle stopped in the 1600 block of Center St. NE. Officer Fruehling then exited his marked squad car in full police uniform and began to give the driver of the vehicle verbal commands to exit the vehicle. 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. Officer Fruehling did not have time to get back into his squad car. 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. Only five seconds transpired from the time Officer Fruehling exited his squad car to when he fired his third and final shot at the suspect.
The investigation concludes that the deadly force used by Officer Fruehling against the driver was reasonable under Iowa law (Iowa Code section 704). 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. Reserve Officer Scott Fruehling was justified in the use of reasonable force because he reasonably believed that such force was necessary to defend himself from the actual and imminent use of unlawful force against him by the driver of the vehicle.
The use of deadly force by a peace officer is a matter of serious consequence warranting careful investigation and thorough review. In the State of Iowa, it is the general consensus among County Attorneys that it is the duty of the County Attorney, as chief law enforcement official of his or her jurisdiction, to be available for consultation and lend assistance in the investigation and evaluation of officer-involved shooting incidents in a timely, objective, and professional manner.
View the Official Memorandum by the Linn County Attorney’s Office regarding this investigation (PDF).