Prosecutor to decide whether to pursue criminal charges with Grand Jury
AVON, Ohio, JULY 5, 2016 – The Avon Police are turning over their investigation of an Avon hotel clerk to the Lorain County Prosecutor’s office following an incident last week that triggered a 911 response from the city’s police department.
Police responded to a 911 call from a hotel clerk in the city who accused an Emirati visitor at the hotel’s front desk of pledging his allegiance to ISIS. Police rushed to the scene, only to determine the allegations were false. The city subsequently issued an apology to the visitor and launched its own investigation. The county prosecutor may 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 Avon Mayor Bryan Jensen. “The police investigate. The prosecutor considers everything the police have collected and decides whether to pursue charges with a Grand Jury.”
Jensen again said that the incident, in which police briefly detained Ahmed Al Menhali of the United Arab Emirates, would have been handled differently had the police received more accurate information.
“We are very sorry Mr. Al Menhali had to go through that,” Jensen said. At the same time, he emphasized that Avon police were following the appropriate procedures and protocols the department uses when a possible active threat has been identified.
Avon Police Chief Richard Bosley said everyone should remain vigilant and aware of any danger. But it is crucial to understand that what is reported to police has serious consequences.
“If you see something, say something is great,” Bosley said. “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.”
Jensen had previously said that the city would review all circumstances surrounding the incident to determine if the person who placed the 911 call could face charges. Turning the investigation over to the county prosecutor is part of that process, he said.
Jensen and Bosley added that they also will continue to review the Avon police response to determine if any changes need to be made to the city’s 911 response protocol.