Lorain Co. Prosecutor to determine if charges will be filed against hotel clerk in ISIS incident

Clerk no longer employed at Avon hotel
Posted at 3:30 PM, Jul 05, 2016

The Lorain County Prosecutor's Office will determine whether charges will be filed against the former Avon hotel clerk who told her family members to call 911 to report that a Muslim man was acting suspiciously in the lobby, triggering an intense response from police.

On Tuesday, learned the woman is longer employed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites on Colorado Avenue.

The 911 call placed by the woman's sister alleged that the man was pledging his allegiance to ISIS. 

Responding police spoke to the clerk and determined the accusations were false.

Body cam video: Avon hotel clerk tells police why she was thought Muslim man looked suspicious

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

However, by that time, police had already placed the man—identified as Ahmed Almenhali of The United Arab Emirates—in handcuffs. Officers released the man from the handcuffs once realizing the mistake but he collapsed a short time later.

Almenhali was taken to a local hospital for treatment. was the only one there when the city's mayor and police chief apologized to Almenhali.

“No one from the police department (wanted) to disrespect you,” Police Chief Richard Bosley told Almenhali. “That was not the intent of any of our officers. It is a very regrettable circumstance that occurred for you. You should not have been put in that situation like you were.”

“There were some false accusations made against you,” Mayor Brian Jensen said. “And those are regrettable. I hope…the person that made those can maybe learn from those.”

Now the county prosecutor could take further action, including asking a Grand Jury to consider criminal charges against the clerk.

“This is the process we follow in such situations,” said Jensen. “The police investigate. The prosecutor considers everything the police have collected and decides whether to pursue charges with a Grand Jury.”

Jensen said the incident would have been handled differently had the police received more accurate information.

“If you see something, say something is great,” said Bosley. “But it has to be based on facts, not assumptions. What someone reports to the police has a dramatic impact on how police respond. You can
put onlookers and our own officers in unnecessary danger if you report untrue information.”

Late Tuesday, the Anti-Defamation League also weighed in, saying in part, "We are deeply troubled by this incident, which is a reminder of the need to educate Americans about cultural differences and reject dangerous stereotypes,” ADL Regional Director Anita Gray said.

“It is troubling that this businessman, who was in town for medical treatment, was judged to be a terrorist based on his clothing and language.  While it is important to remain vigilant against terrorist threats, stereotypes have no place in our society.”