The family of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old student who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, is demanding a written apology and $15 million in compensation from the city of Irving, Texas and its independent school district, claiming that the school and the city disregarded his rights and permanently damaged the family's reputation.
In letters sent to the City of Irving and the Irving Independent School District, lawyers representing the Mohamed family demanded $10 million from the city and $5 million from the school district. The firm has threatened to sue the city if it does not comply within 60 days.
Ahmed was arrested and briefly detained in September after one of his teachers reported that a homemade clock he brought to his school resembled a bomb. The school contacted Irving police, who subsequently interrogated Ahmed for almost an hour and a half, then placed him in a juvenile detention center without allowing him to contact his parents. Ahmed's arrest spurred an outpouring of support from across the country, including an invitation from President Barack Obama to visit the White House. Many tweeted out support under the hashtag #IStandwithAhmed.
The family's lawyers claim the incident was traumatic and damaging.
'There is no other way to put it: Ahmed's reputation in the global community is permanently scarred.'
"Ahmed will now forever be associated with bomb making wholly without basis," attorney Kelly Hollingsworth wrote in a letter to the city. "In the short-term, Ahmed fears for his physical safety after receiving many threatening emails. In the long-term, we adults should know that despite Ahmed's efforts to be strong, and to prove that he is 'a good boy,' he will experience pain and suffering as result of this for the rest of his days.
"There is no other way to put it: Ahmed's reputation in the global community is permanently scarred," the letter said.
The letter said that after the incident, an image circulated on the internet with Ahmed's face superimposed onto a picture of Osama bin Laden, one of his sisters was fired from her job, and the family felt unsafe at their home after their address was posted on Twitter. The letter also accused authorities of launching a campaign to smear Ahmed and his family, and claimed that the arrest was racially motivated.
"Let's face it," Hollingsworth wrote. "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."
A spokesperson for the City of Irving told VICE News that they had received the letter and were in the process of reviewing the demands. The Irving Independent School District could not be reached for comment.
Ahmed and his family currently live in Doha, Qatar, where Ahmed received a full scholarship to attend the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development.
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