AKRON, OHIO - Getting bumped into by a stranger is a part of life in a crowded society, but when a court employee bumped into an assistant prosecutor in Akron, it actually became the focus of an investigation.
A surveillance camera was rolling inside the Summit County Courthouse on Oct. 10, as assistant prosecutor Kassim Ahmed conferred with an attorney outside a courtroom.
The video shows court employee Holly Trivett emerging from the women's restroom, bumping into Ahmed and then walking away without saying a word. Ahmed was so upset that he lodged a formal complaint with courthouse security, and wrote a letter to Holly Trivett's supervisor, in which he claimed that Trivett, "forcefully drove her shoulder into me, delivering a jarring shot that almost knocked me to the ground."
But in the the court of public opinion, Kassim Ahmed does not have a leg to stand on.
Akron resident Mike Phillips told Fox 8, "it clearly looks like she was just coming out of the restroom and accidentally bumped him, like unless they had problems in the courtroom earlier, but other than that it looks like an accidental bump."
A spokesman for the prosecutor's office says Kassim Ahmed elected to lodge a formal complaint because he considered Holly Trivett's conduct to be rude and he was concerned about how she might treat visitors to the courthouse. Spokesman James Pollack points out that Ahmed signed a document indicating that he did not intend to press charges against Trivett, even though he called the contact, "an unprovoked physical assault.”
After viewing the video, Akron resident Linda Schueller told Fox 8, "that would not be something that I would personally be concerned about, not unless there was something else that wasn't in the footage."
The prosecutor's office says what the video does not show is that after the bumping incident, Ahmed approached Trivett for an explanation. Ahmed claims that Trivett freely admitted that she bumped into him on purpose because he was blocking the hallway, but she refused to apologize.
"I still don't get it, you know this is something that happens a thousand times a day in the courthouse," said attorney Adam Van Ho.
According to Van Ho, both Kassim Ahmed and Holly Trivett are highly respected, but he says the incident is shedding a negative light on the court system.
"I don't know if he had a bad day, I don't know if she had a bad day, but all of us in the court system want to get this behind us and try to focus on what's really going on. We have an opiate crisis in this county and we don't need to be focusing on this kind of stuff," said Van Ho.