Cleveland just witnessed a very strange and disturbing incident. Ahmed al-Menhali, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, had come to Cleveland to take advantage of the medical facilities at the Cleveland Clinic and was checking into a suburban hotel when a police team armed with assault rifles stormed in and tackled him to the ground. They soon discovered that he was innocent but the man collapsed and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
It appeared that the sister and father of a hotel clerk at the check-in desk had called 911 and reported that the clerk had informed them that a man in traditional Middle Eastern attire had multiple phones and was making statements pledging allegiance to ISIS. The link above has a link to the audio of the 911 calls made by the sister and father, and the body cameras of the police show the event.
The US ambassador to the UAE has apologized to that country’s government for the treatment if its citizen and that government has recommended to its people to not wear traditional clothing when traveling abroad.
Police camera footage showed officers detaining and searching Menhali before determining he was not a threat. He collapsed moments after he was released and was briefly hospitalized.
The National, a government-owned daily in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi, quoted Menhali on Sunday as saying he didn’t realize that police were targeting him and initially thought he was witnessing a training exercise. He had been in the US since April for medical treatment after suffering a stroke, according to the paper.
The married father of three said he suffered several injuries during the arrest and described being shocked when officers came at him. He told the paper: “They were brutal with me.”
There has been a deadly period of violence with the massive death tolls in Iraq and Turkey and Saudi Arabia suggesting that ISIS, believed to be behind all of them, is trying to make some kind of point with its wanton murders of innocent people.
The hotel clerk told the police that the man did not make any statements regarding ISIS so the question is what happened. Was she playing a stupid and dangerous hoax on her sister and father thinking it was funny? Police say that she may face criminal charges for providing false information.
The city of Cleveland on high alert because of the Republican convention in just two weeks so it would not take much to trigger a reaction similar to the one we saw with al-Menhali.