Family of Muslim ‘Clock Kid’ Sues Irving, Texas, Over Arrest for Hoax Bomb

By Al Perrotta Published on August 8, 2016

The family of the Muslim teenager who was arrested after bringing a “homemade clock” to school filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Irving, Texas, school officials and others, accusing them of violating the 14-year-old boy’s civil rights.

Ahmed Mohamed, dubbed “The Clock Kid,” was charged in September with having a hoax bomb. He claimed he only brought the homemade digital clock to school to show his teacher. However, when he set the alarm off in a separate classroom that second teacher took action, setting in motion a series of events that led to his arrest.

Although Irving police quickly dropped the charge, Mohamed’s case caused a media and celebrity outcry, with accusations that the school and police had targeted Mohamed because he’s a Muslim. Even President Obama rushed to the teenager’s defense, inviting him to the White House. His Justice Department then launched an investigation.

In November, the Mohamed family declared they wanted an apology and $15 million dollars, or they would sue. That suit was filed today.

The Lawsuit

The lawsuit brought by Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, targets Irving Independent School District, the city of Irving and the school’s principal. It claims Mohamed’s right to equal protection under the law was violated and the teenager was arrested without cause. It further claims Mohamed was a victim of systematic discrimination by the school district and state Board of Education that has marginalized Muslims and other minority groups.

“In the case of Ahmed Mohamed,” the suit reads, “we have the opportunity to take a stand for equality and justice, two things that should prevail above all else.”

District spokeswoman Lesley Weaver said attorneys for the district are reviewing the suit, adding “Irving ISD continues to deny violating the student’s rights and will respond to claims in accordance with court rules.”

The Facts

The “Clock Kid” incident took place on a typical school day at MacArthur High School in suburban Dallas. Mohamed showed up with a homemade device that was, as Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd described it at the time, “certainly suspicious in nature.” Others noted its similarity to a suitcase bomb.

This photo provided by the Irving Police Department shows the homemade clock that Ahmed Mohamed brought to school,  Wednesday, Sept.16, 2015, in Irving. Police detained the 14-year-old Muslim boy after a teacher at MacArthur High School decided that the homemade clock he brought to class looked like a bomb, according to school and police officials. The family of Ahmed Mohamed said the boy was suspended for three days from the school in the Dallas suburb. (Irving Police via AP)

This photo provided by the Irving Police Department shows the homemade clock that Ahmed Mohamed brought to school, Wednesday, Sept.16, 2015, in Irving. Police detained the 14-year-old Muslim boy after a teacher at MacArthur High School decided that the homemade clock he brought to class looked like a bomb, according to school and police officials. The family of Ahmed Mohamed said the boy was suspended for three days from the school in the Dallas suburb. (Irving Police via AP)

The Stream summarized what went down next:

He ignored a teacher’s advice to stash the device, which he dubiously claimed was an alarm clock he had built. (Detractors quickly pointed out the clock was likely a disassembled clock from Radio Shack. You can see a viral video that makes that case here.) He brought the device into another classroom, with the alarm clock set to go off in the middle of the lesson. When hauled off to the principal’s office his answers raised enough suspicion for the police to be called. His reticent answers to them raised further suspicions, enough to warrant a brief arrest. We don’t know exactly what he said because his family — which has a history of trouble with the school and curious connections — refused to give authorities permission to release the police report on the incident.

Under Texas Penal Code § 46.08, it is illegal to possess a “hoax bomb” with an intent to “make another believe that the hoax bomb is an explosive or incendiary device” or to “cause [an] alarm or reaction of any type by an official of a public safety agency or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies.” A teacher having a device looking like the one pictured above going off in the middle of a class filled with students is a situation that would seem to fit the bill.

Because Mohamed is a juvenile, the city cannot release the police report without his parents’ permission. Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne told Glenn Beck at the time that the report would help describe why things progressed as they did. “Nobody is going to walk in and say, ‘Oh you’re a 14-year-old, you’re totally cooperating, we have all the answers we need, let’s arrest you.’”

The Publicity

The Mohamed family cancelled several meetings to discuss the matter with city officials, Mayor Van Duyne said. “At the exact same time they were supposed to be meeting with us, they were on their front lawn with a press conference.”

In fact, the P.R. push was on before the facts were out, said Van Duyne. “We never even got a call from anybody at the White House asking to verify any of that information,” he said. “I don’t think the picture of the hoax bomb was even released before (Obama) tweeted ‘cool clock kid.’”

CAIR immediately joined the cause, declaring that the “incident is symptomatic of growing Islamophobia in American society.” In October CAIR named the teenager with the suspicious clock “American Muslim of the Year.”

Mohamed’s father Elhassan Mohamed also insisted Islamaphobia was behind the arrest, declaring last year his son was only charged “because his name is Mohamed and because of September 11.”

As Fox News revealed in October, the elder Mohamed is behind an Arabic Facebook page that includes “a 14-minute conspiracy theory clip on the 9/11 terrorist attacks and a post that shows the smoking World Trade towers, describing as a U.S.-sponsored hoax to launch a world war against Islam and Muslims.”

You can read the lawsuit filed today by Elhassan Mohamed here.

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