Ahmed Mohamed is looking to strike it rich before the clock strikes midnight on the “clock kid” story.
Attorneys for Mohamed, 14, and his family want $15 million in damages and apologies from several officials stemming from Mohamed’s September 14 arrest, when he brought to school a homemade clock that a teacher flagged as a possible bomb.
“As American citizens, all of us -- even the ones with ‘Muslim-sounding’ names like Ahmed Mohamed -- are entitled to have public officials with whom we come in contact to respect our rights,” a letter addressed to Mohamed’s former school district states.
The so-called “clock kid” incident prompted outrage from some who claimed Mohamed was profiled for being a Muslim and wrongfully arrested by police and suspended by MacArthur High School for a simple misunderstanding. The media circus that quickly enveloped the Texas high school freshman eventually even reached the White House. President Obama tweeted Mohamed an invitation to a White House event after complimenting the clock design. Mohamed has contended he built the clock to display his love of electronics. Detractors have suggested the clock was purchased pre-made and the entire episode was a carefully staged event.
In the aftermath of the incident, Mohamed’s attorneys assert, the teenager’s name and likeness will be “forever associated with arguably the most contentious and divisive socio-political issue of our time.”
A day after Mohamed met Obama at an October event at the White House, Mohamed’s family announced it was leaving the U.S. for Qatar.
Demand letters issued by Mohamed’s attorneys on Monday sought $5 million from the Irving Independent School District and $10 million from the City of Irving in addition to written apologies from the Irving ISD and the city’s mayor and police chief.
The letter to Irving ISD alleges several violations of school policy, including that employees “disregarded the district’s written policies and procedures by detaining, interrogating and attempting to coerce a confession from Ahmed.” The letter also claims Mohamed suffered “severe psychological trauma” and was harassed by officials.
The letter to the City of Irving asserts that Mohamed’s constitutional rights were violated.
“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,” the letter states.
In a sentence that is bolded, italicized and underlined, Mohamed’s attorneys write that their client’s “reputation in the global community is permanently scarred.”
“If you fail to comply with the above demands within 60 days from the date of this letter, you should expect that we will file a civil action addressing the causes of action and events described in this letter,” one of the letters stated.