Yesterday I shared the cringeworthy story of an Emirati man who was handcuffed at gunpoint at a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Avon, Ohio. According to the 911 calls, there was a male in the lobby “in full head dress with multiple disposable phones pledging his allegiance to ISIS.”
The 911 calls were from the sister and father of the hotel clerk, who was so scared of the Emirati guy that she locked herself in a room until police arrived. You can watch the entire footage of the Emirati man being aggressively handcuffed at gunpoint here:
Clearly something about the story didn’t add up, since the Emirati guy was in Cleveland for medical treatment, and nothing was found on him.
Well, now we know the full story.
The Avon Police Department has released body cam footage from the officer as he interviewed the hotel clerk who caused the panic. Per cleveland.com:
Alexis Silva, 22, of Lorain told police Wednesday that Ahmed Almenhali of The United Arab Emirates “freaked her out” at the Fairfield Inn and Suites on Colorado Avenue.
“I said he is dressed in a weird outfit, he’s talking on multiple phones, and I don’t know what to do because of everything that’s going on with ISIS,” Silva said. “I said call the police because he kept asking questions.”
The man was trying to check into the hotel, but there were no rooms available, Silva said.
“He was searching the Internet on one [phone], making calls on a disposable phone,” Silva said. “That just freaks me out.”
Silva locked herself in a hotel bathroom before officers arrived, police reports say.
“Unfortunately, the call that came to us is he was screaming, pledging his allegiance to ISIS and waving his phones around,” Avon police Lt. Dan Fischbach told Silva. “That’s a completely different picture than what happened.”
“Someone dressed like that and holding a phone is not enough to call and say they are pledging their allegiance to ISIS,” Fischbach told Silva. “That’s a totally different ballgame.”
Here’s the full video:
I really don’t know what to make of all of this. On one hand it’s sad how ignorant the lady working the front desk is, and the horrible situation it caused for another person. At the same time, to what degree is her ignorance her fault, vs. just a function of her surroundings? Watching her being questioned, I almost feel bad for her…
The Avon police chief says that the hotel clerk may face criminal charges, which presents an interesting situation. Should she really be the one facing criminal charges, or her sister and father, who supposedly changed the story?
- The hotel clerk was scared and called her sister and father, and said she was “freaked out” given everything going on with ISIS, and ask them to call the cops. That was extremely unprofessional and ignorant, but at the same time, didn’t in and of itself cause anything.
- If her side of the story is to be believed, and if her sister and father changed the story to say that the Emirati man was pledging his allegiance to ISIS, shouldn’t they be the ones responsible for the situation? After all, the police response wouldn’t have been the way it was if it weren’t for that misinformation. If they had just called the police because she felt uncomfortable (which is what she claims she says), then the situation would have been handled completely differently.
Obviously this is a very challenging situation for the police to be in. If someone calls them claiming that someone is “pledging their allegiance to ISIS,” then I understand why they respond in “full force.” At the same time, to what degree should they trust a situation like that, especially since the 911 call was based on second hand information?
Who is at fault here — the hotel clerk, the hotel clerk’s sister and father, and/or the police department for how they responded?