Hotel clerk may face charges after innocent man handcuffed at hotel

Hotel clerk may face charges after innocent man handcuffed at hotel

AVON, OH (WOIO) - Two days after being confronted by police officers outside of an Avon hotel, Ahmad Al Minhali still struggles to speak.

"He said he feared for his life. He thought he was going to get killed by police when he saw guns pointed at him," said Al Minhali's friend, who wished to remain anonymous. Since Al Minhali cannot speak, his friend spoke on his behalf.

Al Minhali wanted to book a long-term stay at an Avon Fairfield Inn and Suites Wednesday. But before he knew it, things took a drastic turn. Officers ordered Al Minhali to the ground and handcuffed him.

At the time, Al Minhali didn't know why.

"He thinks police acted very violently," said Al Minhali's friend.

Officers responded to the hotel after receiving two 911 calls from the hotel clerk's family, Avon police chief Richard Bosley said. The callers told dispatchers a man in "full headdress" was "pledging allegiance to ISIS" in the lobby.

"That's when the female was panicking and she called the police saying there's someone who's a terrorist or pledging allegiance to ISIS," said Al Minhali's friend.

Police responded to the hotel fearing the worst.

"It's the first time we've received a call like that," said Bosley. "If we under-react a lot of people could be hurt. If we overreact a lot of people could be hurt."

When officers got to the hotel they quickly learned the 911 call was far from the truth.

"When they pointed their guns at him he complied and did what they said," said Al Minhali's friend.

Police body camera video captures Al Minhali fainting. He showed Cleveland 19 News his blood stained clothes from the fall.

"At this point our department considers Al Minhali a victim," said Bosley.

In the 911 call, the woman mentioned Al Minhali's "full headdress." He said it's typical attire worn in Abu Dhabi, which is where he is from.
Al Minhali said he's been in America for about two months working on a science project.

He said he plans to stay in Lakewood with his wife, but what happened in Avon Wednesday will always stay in the back of his mind.

Avon police said they're wrapping up the investigation. It is possible the hotel clerk could face charges.

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