Ahmed Mohamed demands $15m in damages and written apology from school and city police
The family of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14 year old Texas school boy who was arrested after his teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb, has demanded $15m in compensation for “severe psychological trauma” and written apologies from the police chief and local mayor, their lawyers have said.
In letters written to Irving City Hall and the city’s police department, the family is seeking $10 million from the city and $5 million from the police force and say they will begin legal proceedings unless they are complied with within sixty days.
“Ahmed never threatened anyone, never caused harm to anyone, and never intended to. The only one who was hurt that day was Ahmed, and the damages he suffered were not because of oversight or incompetence,” said the letter to the city authorities.
“The school and city officials involved knew what they needed to do to protect Ahmed’s rights. They just decided not to do it.”
In the letters, the lawyers also claim that the youngster’s life has been completely changed and by what happened and that he “will forever be be associated with bomb-making wholly without basis”.
In September, the teenager made headlines when he brought a homemade clock to his school to show a teacher, but another teacher thought it could be a bomb. The school contacted police, who ultimately chose not to charge him with having a hoax bomb, though he was suspended from school.
The incident gained worldwide attention with people saying that it was an example of racial stereotyping. Ahmed subsequently left the school in question.
The teenager and his father claimed he had been a victim of Islamophobia.
Since Ahmed’s arrest on September 14, he has met Barack Obama, the Google co-founder Sergey Brin and officials from Turkey, Sudan and Jordan whilst being praised by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In October, Ahmed’s family announced that they were moving to Qatar so that Ahmed could study with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development under its Young Innovators Program.
The two letters sent by the Laney and Bollinger law firm and first reported by ABC, requested a written apology from Irving’s Mayor Beth Van Duyne, who had defended the actions of the staff at MacArthur High School, and Police Chief Larry Boyd.
The letters claimed the teenager’s civil rights were violated and that he and his family suffered physical and mental anguish. They claim he was singled out because of his “race, national origin, and religion.”
The incident has raised questions about anti-Islam sentiment in the US, and Ahmed was even mentioned during a Republican presidential debate. Ahmed said it was “very sad” that his teacher thought his clock was a threat.