Remember Ahmed Mohamed? He’s the Texas teen who sailed into his (extended) 15 minutes of fame after one of his teachers mistook a “homemade clock” for a homemade bomb.
This week, Ahmed’s family is attempting to turn those 15 minutes into a 15 million dollar settlement with both the City of Irving and the Irving school district. They’re claiming civil rights violations, as well as both physical and mental anguish. Demand letters went out today, and the city has 60 days to respond, or risk facing a high-profile lawsuit.
More from WFAA:
The letters claim Ahmed was singled out “because of his race, national origin, and religion.”
“Ahmed never threatened anyone, never caused harm to anyone, and never intended to,” read the letter to the city. “The only one who was hurt that day was Ahmed, and the damages he suffered were not because of oversight or incompetence. The school and city officials involved knew what they needed to do to protect Ahmed’s rights. They just decided not to do it.”
The letters demand $10 million be paid to the family by the city of Irving, and $5 million from the school district.
WFAA has the letters of demand the family sent to both the city and the school district. In addition to the $15 million dollar fiscal safe space, the family is also demanding apologies from Irving mayor Beth Van Duyne, the school district, and the police chief making it clear that Ahmed never planned on hurting anyone, wasn’t suspected of being part of some sort of science fair jihad, and that the ensuing detention, interrogation, and arrest was wrongful and not the product of reasonable suspicion.
Back in September Aleister penned a great piece on why we should be blaming “zero tolerance insanity” for this mess, as opposed to racism—and it’s still incredibly relevant. (Don’t believe me? You can also find more of Legal Insurrection’s excellent coverage of destructive zero tolerance policies at the link.)
Throughout our coverage of this PR disaster (and I do sympathize with the City of Irving—having worked up there, I know that these people don’t deserve even half of the flack they’re fielding over this) we have focused on the tragedy of the staged racial narrative. Ahmed didn’t really invent anything, but then again, he’s a kid, so who really cares? We’ve moved on, and we should be focusing on how this kid ended up in the joint because of a textbook zero tolerance policy; but that’s not to be. Now, we have an even bigger PR circus as his family attempts to extort local government agencies out of millions of dollars via a narrative that both exploits skin color and crucifies the entire city of Irving.
This is happening all in in the name of—you guessed it—the narrative.
This very-NSFW (language)/headphones-required September segment of Real Time with Bill Maher, featuring panelists Jorge Ramos, Chris Matthews, Mark Cuban and former Gov. George Pataki, offers some entertaining perspective on the situation:
“The people at the school thought it might be a bomb, perhaps ’cause it looks exactly like a f-ing bomb.”
Will that matter? Probably not.
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