Attorney says police ‘dropped the ball’ in arrest

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – The attorney for a local community leader arrested Nov. 11 said Dearborn Police officers “dropped the ball” by arresting his client, an area businessman.

Ali Hammoud, president of the Bint Jabail Cultural Center, 6220 Miller Road, was arrested after Dearborn police officers acted on a warrant for a man with the same name, who is wanted by the FBI for allegedly selling cigarettes to support Hezbollah, a militant Mulsim group in 2006, suspected to be in Lebanon.

Dearborn-based Attorney Majed Moughni said the arrest has galvanized the community and news of it has spread around the world.

“The attention has been unbelievable,” he said. “It’s gone beyond a local issue and a national issue. It’s become a global issue.”

Moughni said Hammoud has been humbled by the ordeal, adding that further investigation is not warranted because Hammoud was released and does not plan to pursue legal action. Moughni said it was a case of police officers looking to “hit the jackpot,” with a high profile arrest.

“They made everyone (in city government) look bad,” he said. “They’re arresting one of the most respected members of the community.”

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said department officials are continuing to review the matter and he stands behind the officers, but there are “issues that need to be worked on.”

According to a press release from FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold, spokeswoman for its Detroit Division, Hammoud was released after an investigation determined he was not the one they were looking for.

“He has has not been tied to any terrorist organization and is recognized as a respected community leader,” she said.
Hammoud did not return phone calls seeking comments for this story by press time.

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at