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Ex-Iowa trooper faces federal charge over forceful 2017 traffic stop

A federal grand jury charged Robert James Smith last week with violating the motorcyclist’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during the stop in 2017.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A former Iowa State Patrol officer with a history of excessive force allegations has been indicted on a federal charge over a 2017 traffic stop that was captured on video and during which a motorcyclist was injured. 

A federal grand jury charged Robert James Smith last week with violating the motorcyclist’s civil rights by using unreasonable force during the Sept. 25, 2017, stop near West Liberty, which is southeast of Iowa City. 

The indictment notes that the victim suffered “bodily injury” during the encounter, which means the charge could carry a maximum of 10 years in prison. 

Smith is due in court on Nov. 16. He didn't immediately respond to phone messages and court records don't show if he has an attorney.

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