Ahmed Mohamed Demands $15 Million Over 'Clock Kid' Incident

ahmed mohamed
John M. Grunsfeld (L), Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, poses for a selfie with Ahmed Mohamed, 14, the Texas teenager who was arrested after bringing a homemade electronic clock to school, during the second White House Astronomy Night on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington October 19. Joshua Roberts/Reuters

The 14-year-old Texas student who was arrested for bringing to school a clock that was mistaken for a bomb is demanding $15 million in damages and apology letters.

Ahmed Mohamed and his family are asking for $10 million in damages from the city of Irving and $5 million from the school district, according to two letters sent by an attorney representing the family that were made public by the Dallas Morning News.

In September, Mohamed brought to school a handmade clock to show teachers his engineering skills. One of the teachers who saw the clock said it looked like a bomb and alerted the administration. Later in the day, MacArthur High School Principal Daniel Cummings escorted Mohamed out of class with a police officer. The freshman was then questioned for more than an hour by Cummings, Assistant Principal Patrick Smith and five police officers.

"Ahmed asked nearly immediately if he could contact his parents—which as you know, is his right under the Texas Juvenile Justice Code," Mohamed's attorney wrote in the letter to the city. "His request was refused: 'No. You're being interrogated, so you cannot talk to your parents.'"

Mohamed was later arrested and released to his father. He was not read his Miranda rights, his attorney says.

During the interrogation, according to his attorney, Mohamed was repeatedly asked to sign a written statement saying the clock was a "hoax bomb" and was threatened with expulsion if the statement was not signed.

In addition to laying blame on the police department's handling of the incident, the attorney's letters address the town's mayor and school administrators. Mayor Beth Van Duyne appeared on a television show with the conservative commentator Glenn Beck after Mohamed's story went viral, and she "characterized Ahmed as 'passive aggressive' and 'less than forthcoming' because he exercised his constitutional right to remain silent while he was being illegally detained and interrogated by the police," one letter reads. "Combined with the 'civilization jihad' backdrop established by her friend, Glenn Beck, the Mayor fed a completely false impression about Ahmed and his family."

A statement the principal made on the school's intercom in the aftermath of Mohamed's arrest was also mentioned in the letter. According to the attorney, Cummings said: "Right now the media has only one side of the story. Understand that the school district cannot release our statements or facts without written consent from the parents. And we have a very different version of what happened than what you are seeing from the media. Today the district will ask for written permission to release the facts."

Mohamed's lawyer is arguing that this statement by the principal "directly defamed both Ahmed and his family by calling them liars."

The letters also offer an exhaustive list of alleged harrassment Mohamed and his family faced after the "clock kid" incident went viral. They say a picture of Mohamed was photoshopped to look like Osama bin Laden, his sister was fired from her job, his father's business suffered, and his home address was made public. The letters say his family received threats online, with some saying the family was associated with acts of terror. For safety reasons, the family current resides in Qatar.

"The only reason for the overreaction was that the responsible adults involved irrationally assumed that Ahmed was dangerous because of his race, national origin, and religion. Let's face it; if Ahmed's clock were 'Jennifer's clock,' and if the pencil case were ruby red bedazzled with a clear rhinestone skull and crossbones on the cover, this would never have happened," his attorney says.

Apology letters were requested from the school district, the mayor and the police chief. In the event the district and town don't pay the sum demanded by the attorney and don't issue the apologies, the family plans to pursue civil action.

2015.11.23 City of Irving Demand Letter by Avi Selk

2018.11.23 Irving ISD Demand Letter by Avi Selk