POLITICS
11/23/2015 05:43 pm ET Updated Jan 26, 2017

Ahmed Mohamed And Family Demand $15 Million In Damages And Apology From School District

His arrest was a violation of his civil rights, according to his attorneys.
ASHRAF SHAZLY via Getty Images

Ahmed Mohamed, a Muslim-American teenager from Irving, Texas, who was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school, is demanding damages from the city and school district.

Attorneys representing Ahmed are demanding $15 million from the Irving Independent School District and the City of Irving, as well as an apology from the city. They say his civil rights were violated and he and his family have suffered physical and mental anguish as a result of his arrest over a homemade clock, which teachers at MacArthur High School believed was an explosive device.

Ahmed, a young engineer and fan of robotics, modified a pencil case to work as a clock and brought it to school in September, with the intention, he said, of impressing his teacher. He was, however, later accused of trying “to make a bomb,” pulled out of class, sent to the principal’s office, threatened with expulsion and led out of the school in handcuffs.

In letters to the City of Irving and the Irving Independent School District, Ahmed’s attorneys say the way the school and police officials treated him was motivated by “rancid, openly discriminatory intent.” Ahmed was targeted “because of his race, national origin, and religion,” the letters continue.

Ahmed’s attorneys accuse the City of Irving of creating a plan to “trash Ahmed” and spin the story in the city’s favor. One of these strategies included “[pushing] the false narrative that the school’s hands were tied by Texas’ ‘zero tolerance’ law on school discipline.”

“Ahmed never threatened anyone, never caused harm to anyone, and never intended to,” the letter to the city says. “The only one who was hurt that day was Ahmed, and the damages he suffered were not because of oversight or incompetence. The school and city officials involved knew what they needed to do to protect Ahmed’s rights. They just decided not to do it.”

His attorneys are demanding $10 million from the city, and they also want a written apology from Mayor Beth Van Duyne “acknowledging that she has never been presented with any evidence that Ahmed was a ‘pawn’ in any ‘civilization jihad’ or that the events here were planned by Ahmed’s family or friends as part of an ‘influence operation,’” according to the letter to the city.

The City of Irving told The Huffington Post in a statement that it “has received a demand letter from attorneys representing Ahmed Mohamed. At this time, we are reviewing it and have nothing further to add.”

Ahmed’s attorneys also want a written apology from Police Chief Larry Boyd for Ahmed’s “wrongful arrest.” And are demanding an additional $5 million from the school district.

The Irving Independent School District confirmed to HuffPost in a statement that “Irving ISD is in receipt of a letter” from Ahmed’s legal representatives.”Our attorneys will review the information and respond as appropriate, as with any legal matter,” the statement said.

In the aftermath of Ahmed’s arrest the teen received widespread support. He met with notable tech and world leaders, including President Barack Obama after Obama praised his scientific innovation on social media, and New York City Mayor Bill Blasio proclaimed Sept. 28 “Ahmed Day.”

Ahmed moved with his family to Doha, Qatar, after the Qatar Foundation offered him a full scholarship. The attorney’s letter says the family is there for “personal security reasons.”

Read the attorney letter to the City of Irving in full:

Read the attorney letter to the Irving Independent School District in full:

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