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Police Emails About Ahmed Mohamed: 'This Is What Happens When We Screw Up'

Motherboard has obtained 280 pages of internal emails the Irving Police Department sent about Ahmed Mohamed.

by Jason Koebler
Nov 6 2015, 2:31pm

When Ahmed Mohamed announced he will be moving to Qatar, it set off a new wave of media, politician, and pundit reactions. Well, employees at the Irving Police Department, who arrested the 14-year-old for bringing a clock to school, had some thoughts, too.

"I bet his lawyers aren't happy about that," Les Moore, a legal advisor for the department sent to Jason McClain, a city attorney who shared the news with him in an email with the subject "Wow. Just wow."

Irving police threatened to arrest Ahmed Mohamed's father, internal memos show.

"We need to make sure that we depose him there—I fly business class at worst," McClain wrote. The charges against Mohamed have been dropped, so presumably McClain was joking as there will be no deposition. In a separate email, Moore instructed employees to not destroy Mohamed's clock because it could be used as evidence "in the likely event we are sued over this arrest." The Mohamed family has retained a lawyer but has not filed any lawsuits against the department.

Using a Texas Public Information Act request, Motherboard obtained 230 pages worth of emails as well as several internal memos sent within the Irving Police Department in the month following Mohamed's arrest.

Many of the emails, which are embedded below, discuss internal minutia about processing journalists' requests (including mine). But several of them shed light on the shitstorm that transpired after Mohamed's story went viral online.

"This is what happens when we (Irving Police Department) screw something up," Rodney Bergeron, an officer in the county, wrote to some of his fellow officers. "If you have to go to your Sgt., and the Sgt. has to go to the Lt., and the Lt. has to go to the Capt., and the Capt. has to go to the Assistant Chief to make a decision on whether to arrest or not, then you probably shouldn't make the arrest until more investigation is done. That thing didn't even look like a bomb. And now, the kid is being made into a hero. And, the city is going to pay big for this one. He won't need a scholarship to MIT."

Also included in the documents are a handful of vaguely worded threats written by people from around the country, an email from someone claiming to be an Anonymous-affiliated hacktivist, an extremely tedious email from a Wikipedia editor who doesn't understand copyright law, and a letter sent to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in which the department asks how much information it's allowed to redact from a journalist's Public Information Act request.

I've embedded all of the emails and memos below.

288649806 IPD Employee Emails Redacted