Local News

Fishers BP gas clerk speaks out after wrongful arrest

Eric Feldman - FISHERS, IN (WISH) -- A Fishers gas station clerk said Friday that newly released surveillance video proves he was wrongly accused of pulling a gun on a shoplifter.

A little more than two weeks ago Fishers police arrested the clerk for intimidating and drawing a gun on the suspected thief.

Soon after all charges against the clerk were dropped. Friday, for the first time, the clerk told his side of the story. He said he's speaking out because he wants to clear his name after being arrested for following the law.

It started with a man seemingly stealing cigars from the store June 20. The store owner and the clerk, Ahmad Al-Rafie, confronted the man.

"He actually was not responsive when we tried to talk to him. He ignored us and was trying to reach for something the whole time," he recalled.

Afraid it was a gun, Al-Rafie said he showed his firearm, which he has a permit to carry.

"I'm very responsible when it comes to guns," he said. "So I know the laws of the city and the state."

But Al-Rafie said he never pulled it out. Al-Rafie checked the license plate, and the man drove away.

"There was no physical contact," he said. "The gun never came out of the holster."

When Fishers police showed up, Al-Rafie spoke with officers briefly. But then they came back and arrested Al-Rafie for pointing a gun and intimidating the alleged shoplifter, which is a felony.

"I was actually very, very shocked."

Up until then his worst crime was a speeding ticket. Now he was locked up in jail overnight.

"I didn't eat. I didn't drink. I couldn't go to sleep. My blood pressure was off the roof," he said. "Even for a whole week after that my body wasn't acting right."

The Hamilton County prosecutor's office quickly dropped both charges.

"I have no idea. To be honest with you, if they actually saw the evidence, it is very clear in the video what happened," he said, when asked why he thinks he was arrested.

Al-Rafie is an U.S. citizen from Jordan. He served multiple tours as an interpreter for U.S. forces in Iraq and was shot twice on missions.

"I would be more than happy to die for this country," he said.

A man willing to sacrifice. A man also willing to forgive, holding no grudges against the Fishers Police Department. He just has a request for the officers.

"I just hope next time the cops actually do a little more investigating before arresting someone

The Fishers Police Department declined to comment for this story.

Al-Rafie's attorney didn't rule out future legal action. Right now, the concern centers on Al-Rafie's arrest record being public. That could impact him looking for a new job, visiting his family in Jordan, or renewing his concealed carry permit. It doesn't matter that he wasn't charged.

A couple years ago, though, the Indiana legislature changed the law to allow people to seal arrest records as long as the charges are dropped.

Al-Rafie's attorney said he plans on appealing for the case to be sealed, so the arrest does not affect Al-Rafie in any way moving forward.

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