Grand jury decides not to press charges against Avon hotel clerk who prompted ISIS scare

Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-05 08:24:56-04

A grand jury has decided not to press charges against an Avon hotel clerk who told her family members to call 911 in June to report that a Muslim man was acting suspiciously in the lobby.

The call triggered an intense response from police and eventually prompted an apology from the city's mayor, police chief and law director. 

Mayor Bryan Jensen said Tuesday that they do not intend to pursue the matter further.

Read the entire statement from the mayor below:

On June 29, the Avon Police Department received a 911 call from the sister of a woman working as a clerk at the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Colorado Avenue.   

The caller said her sister told her there was a man in the hotel lobby "in full head dress with multiple disposable phones pledging his allegiance to ISIS." 

EXCLUSIVE: Avon's mayor, police chief apologize to man wrongfully accused of supporting ISIS

According to police, she repeated that there was a "suspicious male at the front desk with disposable phones, two of them, in a full head dress."

While on the phone with the sister, police received a second call from the clerk's father also requesting that officers be sent to the hotel.

Officers arrived minutes later to find an Arabic-speaking man standing outside the front doors of the hotel. He was dressed in a 'thobe' and had a cell phone in his hand.

Officers, with guns drawn, ordered the man to get on the ground and drop the phone. At first he didn't respond but police say he eventually complied and laid down.

Officers placed the man in handcuffs and conducted a search. No weapons were found on his body.

Police spoke to the clerk and found out that the man did not, in fact, make any statements related to ISIS. Officers said at that time it was clear there was a miscommunication. 

Body camera obtained by News 5 showed the clerk telling police why she thought the man was suspicious. 

"I said we’re booked," the woman told police. "Everywhere he called is booked too. It’s summer. People are traveling. He had two phones. He was searching the internet on one phone. Making calls on a disposable phone. That’s really all I know. It just freaks me out because of everything going on…"

"He didn’t say anything else?" an officer asked. "Because the call we got is that someone said he was pledging his allegiance to ISIS"

Police then told the other officers to stand down.

"I’m so sorry it’s because he kept coming up here and asking questions and stuff like that and we couldn’t call," the clerk said. 

"Well unfortunately the call that came to us was that he was screaming, pledging his allegiance to ISIS and waving his phones around. That’s a very big different picture than what happened."