Police in Irving, Texas, now emphasize that they knew 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed hadn't brought a bomb to high school when they slapped cuffs on him and took him to juvenile detention earlier this week.
"The officers pretty quickly determined that they weren't investigating an explosive device," police chief Larry Boyd told MSNBC on Thursday.
Boyd said that Monday's investigation centered on the possibility that the student, who is Muslim, may have brought a "hoax bomb."
It turned out to be a clock.
Ahmed has said he was quite clear about that all along. He told the Dallas Morning News that when he showed his English teacher the clock, she suggested it looked like a bomb.
"I told her, 'It doesn't look like a bomb to me,'" Ahmed said.
In a meeting with the principal, school staff continued to question the ninth-grader. "They were like, 'So you tried to make a bomb?'" Ahmed told the newspaper.
"I told them no, I was trying to make a clock."
"He said, 'It looks like a movie bomb to me.'"
Still, in speaking to host Chris Hayes, Boyd skirted around apologizing to Ahmed or admitting his officers made a mistake. "With what they had at that time, they made the best decision that they had at that point in time," Boyd said.
The chief isn't the only one declining to apologize. Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne said in a Facebook post Wednesday that police made the right decision in arresting the student.
"We have all seen terrible and violent acts committed in schools," Van Duyne wrote. "Perhaps some of those could have been prevented and lives could have been spared if people were more vigilant."
She later edited the post to remove the above language.
Ahmed's arrest triggered a firestorm on social media, with President Barack Obama himself speaking out in support of the bright science student.
As for Ahmed, he plans to attend a new high school. Good on you, bud.