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Of Course: Clock Kid is Suing for $15 Million in Damages

Of Course: Clock Kid is Suing for $15 Million in Damages

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.

City of Irving Demand Letter

Irving ISD Demand Letter

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.

Follow Amy on Twitter @ThatAmyMiller


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I’m with Shakespeare on this one.

Gee I am shocked that now they want to come back to this awful place.
Did they forget none of them are citizens and have no legal right to return?
If they apply I hope we reject them.

DINORightMarie | November 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm

I hope that Irving stands up to this bully-tactic, this law-fare.

They did the right thing – and would have done the same REGARDLESS of who had done this!!

The dangers of propaganda-machine pseudo-journalism on full display in this one post.

    stevewhitemd in reply to DINORightMarie. | November 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Irvine will fold like a cheap lawn chair. It’s all about narrative, and there are plenty of school officials, lawyers and politicians who WANT to fold.

    They did sbsolutely the wrong thing – but you’re unfortunately correct that they would have done the same regardless of who was involved. The one claim in the brief that doesn’t hold water is that this would not have happened if Ahmed’s clock were “Jennifer’s clock”. It would have happened anyway, and Jennifer would not have been invited to Google, MIT, or the White House.

      They did not do the wrong thing, in the absence of having someone qualified to determine what it was, they needed to do the safest thing for the whole school, and they did. It is a shame that the majority of school administrator are technically illiterate, usually washed up jocks jocks who were not smart enough to do something else. But, does anyone want those administrators making what could easily be a life and death decision?

        Milhouse in reply to rjriley5000. | November 24, 2015 at 8:36 pm

        They had no reason to suspect that anything was wrong, and therefore they should indeed have done nothing. They don’t go apeshit over every watch, clock, or phone that they see, although any one of them could be concealing a bomb, and they had no call to go apeshit over this one.

I see in the shyster demand for millions she says ahmed is a citizen.Funny when all this was going on his father said he was not.
so which is it?

    Milhouse in reply to RWGinger. | November 24, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Again, what the **** are you talking about? When did his father say any such thing? Provide a link or admit that you made it up.

I hope the city tells Clockmed to go pound sand.

Is it possible for the judge to declare this a nuisance lawsuit and require Mohammad to pay the court costs of the defendants?

How much did the kid who was accused of having chewed his pop-tart into the shape of a gun get?

The school should send a bill for the same amount for the value of ill gotten fame he got and the moment in time to have his CV polished by Zuckerberg and Obama. He managed to become a martyr without the usually requisite (real) AK-47 or suicide belt.

Clock would never get thru the guards on first day of trial

Those wretched infidels must pay the jizya so that the kid can buy himself a few Rolex and Patek Philippe watches.

LANEY & BOLLINGER LAWYERS– I can’t think of anything to write that would be civil enough to read.

Am I right to think this saves the Town the cost of the filing fee when they countersue?

    Milhouse in reply to clintack. | November 24, 2015 at 3:15 am

    No, you are wrong. There are no grounds for a countersuit. The suit is plainly justified, and all that is left is to haggle over the size of the settlement. $15,000 is a lot more closer than $15,000,000 to the plaintiff’s actual damages.

The claim makes both state causes of actions and federal causes of actions.

The good news is that if in state court, it will be heard in Dallas County, TX, The better news is if in federal court, it will be in the northern district of Texas. Either way, there is a great chance for an intelligent jury pool which wont be willing to put up with the kid’s or the parents BS.

The bad news is Irving ISD is likely to capitulate.

The fact of the matter, the kid took an old radio shack radio alarm clock, partly disassembled it, stuck into a brief case and had a few wires hanging out in order to make it look like a bomb.

    Milhouse in reply to Joe-dallas. | November 24, 2015 at 3:20 am

    A pencil case with electronics in it — or even with wires hanging out, as you claim without any basis whatsoever — does not look like a bomb. It looks like an electronics project. If the idiots at the school have no idea what a bomb looks like then nothing — even a real bomb — can look to them like a bomb. That something might look like an idiot’s unfounded notion of what a bomb might look like is irrelevant; the plaintiff can’t be responsible for what random notions idiots might have in what passes for their heads.

      Was there anyone available in the schools with enough knowledge to know rather it was or was not a bomb? I doubt that there was.

        Milhouse in reply to rjriley5000. | November 24, 2015 at 8:39 pm

        There was no reason to suspect it of being a bomb in the first place. There was no more need to determine that it wasn’t one, than there is to determine that you’re not a terrorist who needs to be locked up forever. The default presumption is that every person is innocent unless there’s some reason to suspect otherwise, and every object is not dangerous unless there’s some reason to suspect that it is.

      Uncle Samuel in reply to Milhouse. | November 24, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      MILHOUSE – you are wrong on this one – this was not a homemade or student-made clock, it was a clock turned into a TIMING DEVICE with wires to attach to explosives…and plenty of room for LOTS of explosives.

      Quit defending the little provocateur being egged on by his Islamist activist father.

      This was an intentional provocation. Propaganda and profit are their goals.

      Despicable ideology and disgusting people.

        Uncle Samuel in reply to Uncle Samuel. | November 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm

        It was not a bomb, but a PRE-BOMB.

        Ahmed knew it would cause people to be upset and he enjoyed the commotion and attention it caused.

        Milhouse in reply to Uncle Samuel. | November 24, 2015 at 8:43 pm

        You are the one engaging in intentional provocation and scare-mongering. You have no foundation whatsoever for the claims you are making. You are making defamatory statements of fact, with reckless disregard for their truth or falsehood, and accordingly if you had any money the plaintiff would be 100% justified in suing you.

Char Char Binks | November 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

$15 million is the estimated amount of damage his “clock” would have caused had he not been stopped.

    Liar. Nobody even alleges that the clock was anything but a clock, so it could not have done any damage at all, let alone $15M worth. If he had not been “stopped” he would have shown various other people what a whiz he was, and gone home at the end of the day with no harm done to anyone.

    Or, if some of the unfounded-but-at-least-plausible speculation is correct, he woudl have gone home to his father and told him “sorry, nobody bit”.

I suspect the council and school will roll over and hand out millions in settlements!

I’m hoping I’m going to be surprised that there are some public servants still with a backbone but I’ll not hold my breath!

Because, somehow in a twisted way, this kid falls in the liberal camp he’ll probably get the money.
And that will be wrong.

Iowahawk has a suggestion:

Pay him in 50% off Radio Shack coupons— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) November 23, 2015

Since this is a legal-themed blog, let me give some unauthorized legal advice to the school district.

The school district should counterclaim for damages based on conspiracy to defraud. It should name as tortfeasors Clock Boy, his parents, his local imam, and the attorneys who signed the damage claim and/or civil rights suit. Along with the summons & complaint should be a set of interrogatories, a set of request for admissions, and a motion for a immediate protective order covering the plaintiffs’ attorney files and emails and text messages.

I will bet that if the school district did that, there would be immediate negotiations with a “walk away clean” settlement. Funny how that works.

Never fight fair in a legal dispute. Just obey the rules.

    stargirl in reply to platypus. | November 23, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    “tortfeasor”—thank you for utilising such a splendid word!

    Milhouse in reply to platypus. | November 24, 2015 at 3:27 am

    And any competent judge would dismiss that counterclaim as frivolous, with sanctions.

      platypus in reply to Milhouse. | November 24, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      I hope you realize that you are showing your ignorance. Frivolous is a legal term of art and requires two things: a claim that lacks a legal or factual basis AND the intent to disrupt the judicial system by interfering with the orderly process.

      What evidence would show a school district to have such intent, considering that the SD is an artificial entity? But more critical is what part is frivolous (or not based on established law and fact)?

      Sorry but the suit would have to pass through some discovery process before it could be possible to say that insufficient evidence exists to prove the claim. That is the purpose of seeking an immediate protective order preventing spoliation of evidence – to both preserve evidence and secondarily to prevent the counterclaim from being dismissed outright.

      Calm down and realize that the purpose of having a trial is to test the evidence. We have only what the wonderfully unbiased LameStreamMedia has given us to this point.

“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.”

Aleister’s piece was shabbily researched, as Clockboy’s case had nothing to do with Zero Tolerance, but everything to do with a kid disrupting class. His engineering teacher to whom he showed his “invention” did not take action other than to advise Ahmed to not show it to anyone else, because it looked like a bomb. Rather than heeding his teacher’s very tolerant advice, Ahmed proceded to take his clock to his English class, set it to alarm during the class, and plug it in so it would alarm. Clockboy was treated more than fairly by the school, and by the police, who have implied Ahmed’s behavior was less than innocent (they cannot release details because he is a minor, and his parents refuse to let them). Clockboy’s case is an example of Islamic privilege, which, as opposed to so-called White privilege, is a real phenomenon.

“Throughout our coverage of this PR disaster … 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.”

Legal Insurrection needs to own up to its shoddy reporting on this case, instead of doubling down like a crass social justice warrior.

“This is happening all in in the name of—you guessed it—the narrative.”

Indeed. In this case it is the Legal Insurrection narrative. Why is LI covering up the truth? That’s what MSNBC is for.

    platypus in reply to Skookum. | November 24, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Uh, one point nobody’s talking about – since the family is out of the country, they most likely lack standing in federal court. They must be amenable to process.

May he get his clock cleaned.

You know this is being steered by Valerie Jarrett, who invited the little prick the White House. No, no Obama – bomb boy.

Allahu Clockbar

I only read the first brief; I assume the second is pretty much a repeat of the first. I was wondering about the size of the box, and this clears it up; it was indeed exactly the size of a normal pencil box, just a little longer than a new pencil, and nothing at all like a brief case. Closed, it would look exactly like any other kid’s pencil box.

Obviously the brief greatly exaggerates the damage allegedly suffered by the plaintiff and his family, but that’s no different than any other lawsuit in this country. Every suit claims that the plaintiff’s world was shattered, life ruined, and only a grotesquely huge payout can begin to compensate. If you don’t put a huge number on the suit, nobody takes it seriously. It seems to me that one can discount all those claims without impugning the lawyers for making them.

The one factual claim that I take issue with is that this was not a case of “zero tolerance”, because there was no weapon, no alcohol or drugs, and no threat. Regardless of what the written policy may say, we know that in practise zero tolerance policies at schools throughout the USA treat equally actual weapons, drugs, and threats, and imagined weapons, drugs, and threats. Anything that looks like or even suggests a weapon, drug, or threat attracts the same treatment that an actual one would get.

It makes no difference that this clock-in-a-pencil-box looked nothing like a bomb, just as it made no difference that a half-eaten pop tart looked nothing like a gun, or that a lemon drop looked nothing like a drug, or that a story about killing a dinosaur looked nothing like a threat. What matters is that in all these cases the object evoked in someone’s mind the idea of a weapon, drug, or threat, and that idea was intolerable. So despite the lawyers’ claim, “Jennifer’s clock” would have been treated exactly the same way, but with a lot less publicity.

I should add that a lot of the injuries alleged to have been suffered by the plaintiffs resulted not from the defendants’ actions but from the parents’ decision to go public with their story and make (literally) a federal case of it. Once they took it to the court of public opinion it was unreasonable of them to expect the defendants to remain silent and not to defend themselves; they waived any moral right to privacy or confidentiality the moment they made the allegations they did.

I expect the city to cave and settle quickly. After all it’s not their money, it’s taxpayer money.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to holdingmynose. | November 24, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Maybe the insurance company will have objections to the extortion attempt by the Mohammed family.

    This is similar to the Crump/Martin/Brown/Kendrick extortion cases.

      Uncle Samuel in reply to Uncle Samuel. | November 24, 2015 at 7:38 am

      …except Ahmed didn’t get shot for his crime, just arrested (then rewarded with booty and fame by all the leftists).

      What extortion? There is no question that the school and city are liable, the only question is for how much. $15M is obviously way too much; $15,000 might be reasonable, if not $1,500.

      If it were up to me to decide the case I would require everybody involved in this mess-up, from the teacher who reported it all the way up to the mayor and police chief, to give young Ahmed both a personal and a written apology, and $1 in damages. I would also require them all to take an hour’s training in how to recognize a bomb.

        Uncle Samuel in reply to Milhouse. | November 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm

        Ahmed didn’t suffer any harm. None whatsoever. Certainly not equivalent of 1 or 15 million dollars.

        Ahmed has no proof of harm. In fact, he was richly (and wrongly) rewarded for his disgraceful, malevolent shenanigan.

        Despicable, utterly. Glad they are gone.

          Milhouse in reply to Uncle Samuel. | November 24, 2015 at 8:31 pm

          He was unlawfully detained, unlawfully questioned, unlawfully arrested and paraded before the whole school in handcuffs and an arm bar, and he was slandered before the whole world. The fact that so many morons on this and other right-wing sites still think he’s a terrorist proves that he’s suffered damage. The threats his family received prove it too, even if you could show that they didn’t have to move. Not anything like $15M worth, but significant damage nonetheless.

          Milhouse, I encourage you to research qualified immunity in civil rights cases. Lots of caselaw on that subject, and most of it favors the govt. There is plenty of doubt whether anybody is liable – the case will progress to an answer regarding liability.

          Milhouse in reply to Uncle Samuel. | November 25, 2015 at 2:03 am

          Platypus, as I’m sure you know very well, qualified immunity only applies to the policemen as individuals, not to the defendants in this case — the city and the school district. Since the policemen are not being sued (having shallow pockets) it’s irrelevant.

          However, as I’m sure you also know, there is no qualified immunity if the law they broke was clear, and they knew or ought to have known it. Which is definitely the case here. So if he had sued them they would have been liable.

          platypus in reply to Uncle Samuel. | November 25, 2015 at 4:02 pm

          Well, you are correct about individual humans being the ones who can claim qual imm but there is no claim against the corporate entities if there is no liability for the actors themselves. In other words, how can an agency act except through the actions of its human agents? If those human agents inflicted no damage (or are immunized), the case dies on the spot.

          You really are quite biased against the school district, to the point that you cannot seem to analyze this case objectively. I wonder why. No, I take that back – I don’t want to know why.

Why not?

Extortion is one of the pillars of Islam (jizzyah)

Along with war, pillage, bombing, burning, rape, mayhem, hate of infidels and jews and degradation of women.

At 6.95 a piece for an alarm clock , Ahmed could pull off 2,158,173 more hoaxes

Ahmed and his ethnicity was not the focus of attention. And, it will be difficult to prove what people ‘thought’ of him in terms of civil rights.

The “bomb-looking” device was the focus.

If this kid is paid for being Arab then that will set a terrible precedent, a precedent that will be employed by all manner of shysters.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to jennifer a johnson. | November 24, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    This was a clock turned into a timing device, ostensibly for explosives.

    It is wrong to have rewarded the sly little teenager for his provocation and disruption of the school.

      Milhouse in reply to Uncle Samuel. | November 24, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      This was a clock turned into a timing device, ostensibly for explosives.

      The clock wasn’t turned into anything. It was a clock and nothing else. It was a timing device only in the sense that every clock is one. And what do you even mean by “ostensibly for explosives”? It had no more connection to explosives than any other clock does. There was nothing at all about it that resembled explosives, or ought to have suggested them to any reasonable person. Only a person who looks at a pop tart and sees a gun, or who reads a story about killing a dinosaur and sees a threat, or who sees a lemon drop and thinks it’s some sort of drug, would see a pencil box with electronics inside it and think of a bomb.

        Uncle Samuel in reply to Milhouse. | November 25, 2015 at 11:06 am


        The actions of the little provocateur were inexcusable. He and his family SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO THE SCHOOL SYSTEM AND THE POLICE.

        Fact: Cannot trust motives, treaties, words of Muslims. Ever.