Will Ahmed Bring Suit?
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Summary: 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a clock to school in Monday. By Wednesday he was tweeting about meeting his lawyer. What claims is he likely to bring?

If you spend any time on Twitter or Facebook, you’re probably familiar with the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed by now.

On Monday 14-year-old freshman Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock to school to “impress his teachers.” The staff of MacArthur High in Irving, Texas, did not react as he imagined. Instead they called the police, concerned the clock might be a bomb.


Authorities questioned Ahmed at the school. The boy alleges principal Daniel Cummings was present and threatened to expel him if he didn’t write a statement confessing he built the clock as part of a terrorist plot. Ultimately the police handcuffed and dragged the child to a juvenile detention center, where he was fingerprinted and interrogated for an hour — all without his parents.

The charges were ultimately dropped and Ahmed was freed. But a firestorm was unleashed on social media:

Ahmed social media

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Within hours, the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed had gone viral and the invitations started pouring in. Obama, Mark Zuckerber, MIT, and others expressed support and invited the young scientist to visit. R&B singer Ne-Yo even tweeted, “Hey @istandwithAhmed, if you ever want to get into the world of music, let me know.”

Ne-Yo tweet

As public support rolled in, Ahmed took to Twitter. On Wednesday he tweeted, “Going to meet my lawyer” with this picture:

Ahmed going to meet his lawyer


While the contents of Ahmed’s conversation with lawyer Linda Moreno are confidential, we can guess they discussed the infringement of Ahmed’s civil rights and potential claims.

Ahmed with his lawyer pictured on the left:

Ahmed with lawyer

Under Section 52.025 the Texas Family Code, “A child may not be left unattended in a juvenile processing office and is entitled to be accompanied by the child’s parent, guardian, or other custodian or by the child’s attorney.”

Several news outlets have reported that Mohamed made repeated requests for his parents – all of which were denied. When asked why Ahmed was not allowed to speak to his parents, Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said he did “not have answers to [that] specific question.”

Irving police chief Larry Boyd

In addition to the Section 52.025 claim, Ahmed and his family may be able to bring racial profiling claims. According to the ACLU, racial profiling violates the equal protection and unreasonable search and seizure clauses of the U.S. Constitution. ACLU staff attorney Satinder Singh adds, “[I]f Ahmed was named Bill Smith … probably we would not be having this conversation.”

Depending on the facts of the case, Ahmed may also have a “Section 1983 claim” against the school, its officials, and other parties. Section 1983 of Chapter 42 of the United States Code provides that school officials can be held responsible when they know of impending danger to a student or are recklessly indifferent to it, and through the authority vested in them by the state (or the public school board of education), create a dangerous environment that leads to an otherwise preventable injury. Under Section 1983, a school district may be liable if the school or district’s policies lead to the deprivation of a student’s rights.

Which brings us to the following tweet:

Tweet telling Ahmed to sue everyone

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Image Credit: Associated Press and http://home.myhughesnet.com/news/read/category/us/article/the_associated_press-muslim_boy_14_arrested_for_making_clock_mistaken_f-ap



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