Clockmaker student’s lawyer demands $15 million
By Evan Lips | November 24, 2015, 10:48 EST
IRVING, Texas – Lawyers for Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old high school student who was arrested for bringing a homemade digital clock to school that was mistaken for a bomb, are demanding $15 million in payments as well as a written apology from the Irving, Texas, mayor and chief of police.
In a legal demand from Kelly D. Hollingsworth of the Laney & Bollinger law firm, the lawyer asserts that city and school officials of further stoking the ensuing public firestorm that enveloped the boy and his family. Hollingsworth said they “lost their home” after its address was “tweet out for all the world to see.”
“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,” Hollingsworth wrote. He said that because of some overheated media accounts, “Ahmed will now forever be associated with bomb making wholly without basis.”
Full copies of the letter Hollingsworth sent to the city and the Irving Police Department are available to read online.
The letters demand $5 million from the Irving Independent School District, which the boy had attended, and $10 million from the city where the family lived until they moved to Qatar last month.
The city and the school district have 60 days to respond or face a civil court action, Hollingsworth wrote.
Ahmed and his family moved to the Persian Gulf nation last month, citing a feeling of “being under siege” following the September incident.
On Oct. 23, the student triumphantly tweeted that authorities had given him back his clock:
GOT MY CLOCK BACK FINALLY!!😆😆 pic.twitter.com/7k9GXB7M4H
— Ahmed Mohamed (@IStandWithAhmed) Oct. 23, 2015
The attention wasn’t all bad, either, as he received an invitation from President Barack Obama to visit the White House after reports of his arrest:
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.
— President Obama (@POTUS) Sept. 16, 2015
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also invited Ahmed to visit his Silicon Valley giant. “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest,” Zuckerberg wrote. “The future belongs to people like Ahmed.” “Ahmed, if you ever want to come by Facebook, I’d love to meet you. Keep building.” The fallout also saw presidential candidates try to capitalize on the controversy:
The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed also went viral on Twitter as the teen enjoyed support from activists and celebrities alike.Yet since word of the demands for $15 million got out, the hashtag has been a subject of ridicule:
— JuanCornetto (@Juan_Cornetto) November 23, 2015