Sunday, July 03, 2016
A screen grab from an Avon policeman’s body camera shows Mr Al Menhali pinned down by police outside the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Ohio. Courtesy WEWS NewsChannel5
An Emirati man was detained by armed police in the US after a hotel employee reported him as suspicious with links to ISIL.
Ahmed Al Menhali was dressed in traditional clothes when he was arrested on Wednesday in Avon, Ohio.
“I didn’t think that they were there for me. I assumed that there was some sort of training exercise or event at the hotel but I was shocked to see them barge at me," he said.
Mr Al Menhali responded to police demands and lay down to be searched.
“They were brutal with me. They pressed forcefully on my back. I had several injuries and bled from the forceful nature of their arrest," he said.
An ambulance transported Mr Al Menhali to St John Medical Center after he collapsed, police said. Mr Al Menhali said he suffered a panic attack.
The 41-year-old, who is married with three children, has been in Ohio since April after undergoing heart surgery in the UAE following a stroke.
“I always wear my traditional clothes during all my travels and never encountered such a thing," he said.
The businessman was looking to book a room at the Fairfield Inn and Suites because the flat he was staying in at Lakewood was being rented out for the Republican National Convention, which takes place at the end of the month.
“The hotel staff were nice to me and told me that they didn’t have any availabilities but I was surprised that the receptionist disappeared with my papers for a prolonged period of time with no apparent reason," he said.
Avon Police Department said they received a 911 call from the family of a woman working as a clerk at the Fairfield Inn and Suites.
Police were alerted to “a suspicious man with disposable phones, two of them, in a full head dress."
They received a second call from the clerk’s father requesting that officers be sent to the hotel.
According to police, officers ordered Mr Al Menhali to lay on the ground and drop his phone. At first he did not respond but police say he eventually complied and lay down.
After police conducted a search, no weapons were found on him.
When police spoke to the hotel clerk, they learnt Mr Al Menhali did not make any statements related to ISIL. Officers said it was clear there was a miscommunication.
Body camera footage from police was released and circulated online.
Following the incident, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Emiratis not to wear national dress when travelling overseas for their own safety.