Man falsely accused of pledging allegiance to ISIS sues hotel, Avon police officers in federal court

Posted at 5:00 PM, May 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 23:53:08-04

The Emirati man who was detained by Avon Police officers last year and falsely accused of pledging allegiance to ISIS is now suing in federal court.

Ahmed Al-Menhali suffered bruises and was taken to the hospital following that June 29, 2016 incident at a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Avon. The incident was captured on police body camera video.

The complaint alleges Al-Menhali wore traditional Arab attire and was speaking in Arabic on the phone when hotel clerks called 911 to falsely claim he was pledging allegiance to ISIS.

Police responded and detained Al-Menhali, briefly pinning him to the ground. Police quickly determined the claims were false.

Menhali is suing the hotel’s parent company, Marriott International, the employees who gave false information to police as well as six Avon police officers who were involved.

“Throwing him down to the pavement, rifling through his pockets, putting their knees in his back. That was, what we believe to be, far more than was needed," Al-Menhali's lawyer Terry Gilbert told News 5.

“There was no suggestion that any crime was being committed,” Gilbert added. "He was on the phone. They didn’t like the way he looked. They didn't like the way he talked, but he was in a public place and he had a right to be there and he was engaged in business."

Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen and Police Chief Richard Bosley publicly apologized for the incident last summer, but Gilbert told News 5 that wasn't enough.

“They didn’t admit that they did anything wrong," Gilbert said. "They were sorry for what happened to him, but not apologizing for their own conduct."

In a statement, Chief Bosley said his officers acted appropriately given the information they had.

“Police followed the appropriate procedures and protocols the department uses when a possible active threat has been identified,” Bosley said.

Al-Menhali - Complaint and Civil Cover Sheet