Assistant Summit County prosecutor Kassim Ahmed has resigned after a truly bizarre controversy over what appears a slight bump in the hallway that led Ahmed to file an assault charge against court employee Holly Trivett. The videotape below does not support the claim and Ahmed complained that he has “taken unfair criticism as a result of these negative articles.”
As reported first in the Beacon Journal, Ahmed filed a complaint against Trivett after what he called an “unprovoked physical assault” by Trivett on Oct. 10th at the Summit County Courthouse. He described the alleged assault in a letter to court officials who immediately sought to review security videotapes. What they saw was Trivett brushing by Ahmed in a narrow hallway where Ahmed was standing in the middle of the passageway.
The court assistant executive officer, Susan Sweeney, then raised the issue of whether Ahmed falsely accused Trivett and said that the court was “troubled and concerned about these inaccurate statements by an officer of the court against another court employee.”
However, Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has defended Ahmed and said that the surveillance video was misleading. However, it is hard to see how the encounter could have been viewed as anything more than a passing glance or bump. It certainly does not seem to warrant an assault charge.
Even if Ahmed viewed the bump as rude, it showed exceptionally poor judgment to convert that moment into a criminal matter, particularly for a prosecutor. If this is assault, a standard trip on the metro at rush hour would be a criminal melee.
Notably, this film would not support even a tort action for battery, in my view, under the lower standard of proof. Battery in tort is tied to an objective standard of an unconsented to touching that is offensive or harmful.
What do you think?