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The Almighty Buck The Courts

"Clock Boy" Ahmed Mohamed Seeking $15 Million In Damages 818

phrackthat writes: The family of Ahmed Mohamed, the boy who was arrested in Irving, Texas has threatened to sue the school and the city of Irving if they do not pay him $15 million as compensation for his arrest. To refresh the memories of everyone, Ahmed's clock was a clock he disassembled then put into a pencil case that looked like a miniature briefcase. He was briefly detained by the Irving city police to interview him and determine if he intended for his clock to be perceived as a fake bomb. He was released to his parents later on that day and they publicized the matter and claimed Ahmed was arrested because of "Islamophobia".
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"Clock Boy" Ahmed Mohamed Seeking $15 Million In Damages

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  • Litigious Much (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slackerfilm ( 520597 ) <minguswaits.gmail@com> on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:17PM (#50987931) Homepage
    Ok, I liked Clock Boy but this is just dumb. And $15 million? I sure hope he plans on donating a lot of that to science
    • by rhazz ( 2853871 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:18PM (#50987943)
      Suing for such a ridiculous amount just shows that he is truly American.
    • Re:Litigious Much (Score:4, Insightful)

      by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:20PM (#50987985)

      >> $15 million? I sure hope he plans on donating a lot of that to science

      Or...he could STFU and leave it with the local school district...which would use it to teach science.

    • Re: Litigious Much (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:22PM (#50988007)

      What did you like about him? His ability to order a clock off the internet, his ability to take it apart, his ability to have his family involved with Cair, perhaps his fathers ability to be involved in failed lawsuits against the city and its manager for the past 2 years, or maybe his ability to get suspended less than 48 hours after being let back in from a previous suspension at a different school?

      • Re: Litigious Much (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:23PM (#50988669)

        Well, I think I can answer, for everyone, what people liked about him. His desired to take apart a clock he bought.

        Did he really have that desire? Were his motives pure? I dunno. But that's what people are identifying with.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          "Well, I think I can answer, for everyone"

          No... You cannot.

        • Re: Litigious Much (Score:5, Informative)

          by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @06:43PM (#50989319)

          No, people admired that he built a clock, when in fact he just took apart a working clock to make a shitty clock that looked like a bomb, then took it to school to "show people."

          • Re: Litigious Much (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jasno ( 124830 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @02:20AM (#50991911) Journal

            A few of us current engineers got started as kids doing stupid things that only resembled real engineering. I used to spend my allowance at radio shack buying random components only to hook them up to a 9v battery and a metal file to make sparks.

            Take away the backstory about how his dad probably used the kid for politics and political gain, and take away the family's scary religion, and you have a guy a lot of us would sympathize with. We were weird kids who did stupid things and scared people.

            I guess if I sat around listening to the right wing shitstorm over the issue I might feel differently. As much as I am appalled at the family's lawsuit and monetary demands, I have to admit that they did a good job trolling a bunch of stupid school administrators and small town law enforcement. The over reaction of the school and cops opened them up to this. Seriously... interrogating a kid without his parents? I remember when they tried that shit on me.

          • Re: Litigious Much (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sun ( 104778 ) <shachar@shemesh.biz> on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @03:02AM (#50992009) Homepage

            That's because people are ignorant.

            The learning process starts where he did. Take something apart, try to put it together. Hailing him as a genius was being carried away, but labelling him a terrorist was even worse. This is how children learn. It's how we want children to learn.

            Anyone who expects a child that has never learned proper electronics to build an electronic clock from scratch on first attempt is simply ignorant.

            Shachar

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So I'm white and got in trouble all the time as a kid for being a nerd and building/assembling poorly designed shit that looked like a bomb or otherwise dangerous even though it was completely benign. Where do I collect my hundreds of millions of dollars, or are you all a bunch of filthy racists?

      • Re:Litigious Much (Score:4, Interesting)

        by vel-ex-tech ( 4337079 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:28PM (#50988715)

        Bump.

        To name three things that happened to me off the top of my head:

        1. Accused of criminal hacking (by, you guess it, gaslighting asshole managers^H^H^Hadministrators) and had my computer privileges revoked for a few weeks. Told me I was lucky they didn't have me arrested by the FBI and imprisoned in the big city. I was also lucky my parents didn't believe their version of events.

        That one turned out to be blatant gender discrimination. I later found out they had no problem with what I was doing, as long as it was an empowered young woman doing it.

        Oh, edit: 1.5. After I warned the librarian responsible for the open-use computers that they were infected with a virus, I was given a stern warning and told I may have broken the acceptable use policy.

        2. Accused of plagiarism because obviously a however year old I was at the time couldn't possibly program something in Pascal. They were never quite able to figure out what and who I plagiarized.

        3. Had a calculator game I'd put perhaps 3 or 4 weeks of work into erased after leaving my calculator unattended. That was definitely a lesson in keeping backups! (As in I didn't have a single backup anywhere.) That one almost escalated to a lawsuit, but to her credit, the teacher that did it became apologetic once she realized what she had actually done.

        On the other hand, I was never actually arrested.

        On the other, other hand, my motives were authentic unlike "Clock Boy," who seems to have had questionable motives. I also learned that computers are magical palantirs into cyberspace powered by waldos and that any display of talent on my part would get me labeled a dangerous criminal hacker.

        On the 3rd other hand, at a different school, my talent got me a summer and after school job. I'm certain I must have been a misogynerd who prevented a more talented woman from being offered that job. (I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case, since my specialty is software development and the only woman in the class specialized in hardware and network, which would have been more relevant to the job.)

      • Re:Litigious Much (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:37PM (#50988801)
        #whitelivesdontmatter
    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      I agree. I thought the school administration and the police were pretty dumb in this case, and I'd even have supported a minor lawsuit for some expenses related to moving schools and some punitive damages to prevent idiocy in the future, but fifteen million is ridiculous.

      • I agree with the school and police paying out for being idiots, preferably the individual administrators and police not the departments. I dont agree with this kid and family getting it. Split the different and pay the layers and give the rest of it to a registered charity of their choosing.

        We realy need school admins and police to worry about being this blatantly stupid. The kid was told to put it away multiple times, teachers are fully capable of telling him to give me that and I'll give it back when it

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:18PM (#50987955) Journal

    The school certainly overreacted, but...

    1) the kid was not arrested, nor did he suffer any "damages" in light of the celebrity and overly-friendly treatment from the President, and
    2) once the jury hears about his overly-activist father and the lawyer's insinuation that the whole thing was a set-up?

    I'm not seeing this one going very far.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto ( 415985 )

      OH, almost forgot - won first place in a science prize in which he bumped off a teenaged kid who found a cheap/easy means of detecting *ebola*?

      • Citation required. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Brannon ( 221550 )

        This smells like bullshit to me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          He did not receive first place, he was just the featured "scientist" of the photo in which the finalists appeared.
          http://mashable.com/2015/09/22/ahmed-mohamed-google-science-fair/#1U20iipN1sqm

      • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:37PM (#50988803)
        He actually was invited to visit the fair—which he declined—and Olivia's ebola test won first prize.
      • My first thought was to wonder how she knew the test worked. For example, if I wrote a C parser I could feed known valid C programs into it for testing. If you make an Ebola test, a 16 year old can't just feed Ebola into it for testing. This article [techinsider.io] does a good job of explaining how she gets around that. The test doesn't need the whole virus. It just needs a protein that the virus makes. I don't think you can run down to the drugstore and get that either, but at least you could probably order it from

    • by slimdave ( 710334 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:24PM (#50988031)

      ... the kid was not arrested ...

      Purely on a factual level, yes he was arrested, after being questioned for an hour and a half (how is that even possible?), and was taken to a detention centre, fingerprinted, photographed, and questioned further.

      He was not charged. Possibly that's what you meant.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:34PM (#50988149)

        Perhaps this case will be dismissed or jury will decide not to award damages.

        However this will be an example. There was a story recently where two arab speaking US citizens were not admitted to the plane, because somebody feared.

        http://news.yahoo.com/two-men-kept-boarding-us-plane-speaking-arabic-023330187.html

        These two fellow American,s US citizens would have been better off recording the encounter, missing the plane and then suing for bona fide discrimination and would have won big time.

        This paranoia needs to stop and one or two cases with proper settlements would help.

      • by drnb ( 2434720 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:11PM (#50988539)

        ... the kid was not arrested ...

        Purely on a factual level, yes he was arrested, after being questioned for an hour and a half (how is that even possible?), and was taken to a detention centre, fingerprinted, photographed, and questioned further.

        He was not charged. Possibly that's what you meant.

        Bringing a hoax bomb to school is illegal. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, was arrested and spent some hours with law enforcement when he brought a hoax bomb to his high school. A box that ticked, and then ticked faster when it was moved.

        As for whether what this kid did was a hoax bomb, any Iraqi / Afghanistan vet can explain to you how the detonators of IEDs are sometimes made from the components of off-the-shelf consumer devices. So, its not unreasonable to see disassembled clock parts in a negative light.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          In 1975 I was in the 4th grade in Natick Massachusetts going to Johnson Elementary. https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=johnson+elementary+school+natick+ma

          We where putting on a play that year in celebration of 1976 the bi-centennial of the country. We were reenacting George Washington's crossing of the Delaware river and our teacher had asked us to bring in props that could be used as guns.

          My father had a bolt action .22 hanging in the garage in a cloth canvas case. He had the rifle since he was a teenager

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grahamsz ( 150076 )

      I assume there's some desire to make it punitive. He was only treated that way because he was perceived to be a Muslim - I bet the school district can't point to a bunch of other cases where white kids have brought in electronics projects and had the police called. I imagine i'm not alone in the slashdot demographic as someone who brought random electronics to school, yet I never got anywhere close to arrest because of it.

      I don't think it matters if the whole thing was orchestrated to show the school distri

      • He was only treated that way because he was perceived to be a Muslim ...

        Perceived? Is he not Muslim? Perhaps you meant something else.

        • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:51PM (#50988335) Homepage Journal

          I believe that he is, but i'm not sure the school has the right to demand to know the religion of students.

          Honestly it's likely because he had brownish skin. I wouldn't by surprised if a Christian from the middle east would face much the same discrimination.

          • by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <fegg&excite,com> on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:34PM (#50988775)

            THIS. My bet is they did not once ask him to name his religion or what religious establishment his parents drag him to each week. Nor would they have cared what his answer was. It wouldn't have mattered if had a stack of Joel Osteen books in his locker and a card-carrying member of the "700 Club"... he LOOKS LIKE one of 'em terrerists ya see on TV, and had the NERVE to come to school with a thing with wires and flashy lights on it.

      • I don't think it matters if the whole thing was orchestrated to show the school district was discriminatory. It appears that they are, and they should have to pay the price of that.

        The problem is that it is not the school district that will pay for it but it is the students that will pay through fewer programs and lower funding levels. This suit in effect penalizes student for the actions of staff.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      He was arrested. If you are not free to go, you are arrested. If you are "free to go" but will be arrested if you do, you are arrested, just not on paper.

    • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:30PM (#50988103) Homepage

      The school certainly overreacted, but...

      1) the kid was not arrested

      Yes, he was. He was taken away from the school by the police in handcuffs. That's an arrest.

      I think what you meant to say was, the kid was not charged. That's correct. He was arrested, but released without charges.

    • gone and stay gone (Score:5, Insightful)

      by harvey the nerd ( 582806 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:44PM (#50988263)
      The kid and his dad are provocateurs who deliberately baited the school teachers. Dad's sounds like he's been wanting to leave for a long time, probably spent his time dreaming this s**t up. They get nothing and need their visas pulled as undesirable aliens.
  • by Brama ( 80257 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:18PM (#50987957) Homepage

    How much more American can you get?

  • NO WAY... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SuperDre ( 982372 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:19PM (#50987973) Homepage
    F-ing moneygrabbers, they got a lot of positive attention because of it, he had his 15 minutes of fame..
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:23PM (#50988021) Journal
    No way the school district is going to pay 15 mill to this family that has already emigrated to Qatar. It will probably cost a few thousands in lawyer fees. On the other hand, that clock boy is going to lose all sympathy from most people. It lends credence to the accusation that the boy's father, a presidential candidate in south sudan or chad or some such place is quite media savvy and has manipulated the media and gamed the system.
    • It lends credence to the accusation that the boy's father, a presidential candidate in south sudan or chad or some such place is quite media savvy and has manipulated the media and gamed the system.

      Precisely. As soon as I saw this story on Firehose, I lost all sympathy for this kid, as he lost any and all credibility that he might have had. This had to have all been a scheme cooked up by the kids' father, and this is the end-game. They should get precisely ZERO dollars, and perhaps counter-sued for being a nuisance and conspiring to create these shenanigans.

  • Now he'll definitely be smarter than the other kids as the school closes down because of lack of funding. A true american success story.
  • Lawyers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ardmhacha ( 192482 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:27PM (#50988059)

    I am sure that this is all his own idea and no lawyers were involved in the decision to sue for $15 million.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:27PM (#50988061)

    Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed and Robert Spencer once debated on the topic, “Does Islam Respect Human Rights?” The results were so bad for him that after the debate, The American Muslim pleaded with Muslims not to debate Spencer. In any case, this debate is one indication that Mohamed Elhassan has been trying for several years to make his bones as a warrior against “Islamophobia.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8BLtBFeyyo [youtube.com]

    The debate starts at 31:48, after an interview with Walid Phares. On a separate note, this Sudanese Islamic activist once claimed that that incident would “spread Islam” in America [jihadwatch.org]

    That kid may have been innocent, but his father is an Islamic activist trying to intimidate anyone who has any concerns about Islamic activism.

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:29PM (#50988091) Homepage Journal
    This whole story since the day after the incident reads like a script from exactly what the tinfoil hat crowd said would happen. His father is laughing all the way to the bank and laughing at the foolishness of gullible Americans. They not only duped the SJW crowd, but even duped Obama, and they have already cashed in on their successful plan and sounds like they will continue to do so via a lawsuit. Even though there weren't any actual damages, it will be cheaper for the school district to settle, and then raise taxes so that they can afford to keep the school functioning for the other students in the district.
    • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:41PM (#50988229)

      This whole story since the day after the incident reads like a script from exactly what the tinfoil hat crowd said would happen. His father is laughing all the way to the bank and laughing at the foolishness of gullible Americans. They not only duped the SJW crowd, but even duped Obama, and they have already cashed in on their successful plan and sounds like they will continue to do so via a lawsuit. Even though there weren't any actual damages, it will be cheaper for the school district to settle, and then raise taxes so that they can afford to keep the school functioning for the other students in the district.

      And maybe while they are at it, they'll put policies in place to prevent such an overreaction the next time -- as will school districts across the country.

      Without the threat of a lawsuit and large payout there'd be no incentive to this school (or others) to change, they'd continue to overreact to minor things and escalate to the police without reasonable cause.

      Maybe the kid doesn't serve such a large payout, but the school deserves to pay it.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:24PM (#50988675) Journal

      They not only duped the SJW crowd, but even duped Obama

      Obama is a member of the SJW crowd. The more I listen to him the clearer it is he has never a thought of his own. He has been spooned leftist nonsense from birth and learned to repeat it, sometime eloquently. We should just put a picture of him next to 'Social Justice Warrior' in the urban dictionary.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Clock Boy: I was arrested for making something that was designed to look like a bomb. Even though this was made illegal so that the cops wouldn't have to spend all of their time chasing down false alarms, I still want $15 million.

    Judge Me: This is pretty much the most frivolous lawsuit that has ever come across my desk. I'm fining you $15 million for filing such a frivolous lawsuit. If you fail to come up with the $15 million in the next 5 minutes, you will be spending all day, every day making little rocks

  • The school district were clearly beyond clueless, I mean anyone with less half a clue can see it couldn't have been a bomb. I mean the lack of any explosive would be the first clue. But it seems to me that the larger fault here was the president's.
    He clearly tried to politically capitalize on an unfortunate local event by blowing it out of all proportion and turning it into a country-wide sensationalist media circus. So now of course the money-grubbing parents are going to try for all they can get in the be

    • Since you are obviously an expert you can probably tell me what explosive look like?
      It's a red tube with TNT printed on it, right?

  • What is the option (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:37PM (#50988173) Homepage Journal

    Yes, suing a school just de-funds the school, but what is the option? How else can you force the school to come to terms with the fact that it's principal is a braying ass? You're not allowed to sue a school to force it to re-train or replace a bad teacher or administrator.

    • Perhaps sue for a reasonable amount? Maybe a few thousand plus court costs? Perhaps requiring the school officials found culpable be fired? Suing for $15M is just pure greed as all it does is take money away from students.

      You're not allowed to sue a school to force it to re-train or replace a bad teacher or administrator.

      As far as I know a lawsuit settlement can be just about anything. Do you have references showing that requiring teacher/administrators to be fired is not allowed?

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:00PM (#50988421) Journal

      You could sue for a realistic damages figure. If its about principle and not money than wining a case like this should be enough in itself. I can understand why he might want to get the school to admit wrong doing or have a finding against them that they did wrong.

      How exactly was he harmed to the tune of $15 Million? I mean seriously if nothing else thanks to Obummer deciding to make a political football out of him he gained from it.

      Now if they family said he now needs therapy for anxiety or something, and does not want to go back to that school, and sued for oh I don't know $300 - 400k and an apology for the cost of private school, therapy and pain suffered; I'd say well lets see what comes out in court or if the district settles.

      $15 Million on the other hand is a naked cash grab. 15 Million isn't about fair compensation.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:40PM (#50988197) Journal

    ...since they'd removed the cuffs, and she asked them to re-cuff him to she could take the much-ballyhoo'd picture? Surely being re cuffed induced some of his "suffering"?

    For those countering the suspicion that surrounded this kid's actions with "why would he possibly put himself through this? What did he have to gain?"...there's 15 million reasons for you.

  • From his lawyer's letter:

    Ahmed never threatened anyone, never caused harm to anyone, and never intended to. The only one who was hurt that day was Ahmed, and the damages he suffered were not because of oversight or incompetence,” said the letter to the city authorities.

    I guess he's learned how to threaten people, and in a very American way.

  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai@SLACKWAREgmail.com minus distro> on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:58PM (#50988409) Homepage
    The school district acted inappropriately. A written apology is warranted. But even I want to tell the kid's family to GTFO at that price tag.
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @04:59PM (#50988411)
    Want to bring it to the White House?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:08PM (#50988513)

    He was not making a alarm clock - as was widely reported.

    Rather, he took an off-the-shelf alarm clock, and made it look like a bomb. He did this very deliberately.

    Should the school have ignored, what could have been a bomb, because the kid was a Muslim?

    What sort of litigation would there have been if it was a bomb, and the school did nothing?

  • Venom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ichthus ( 72442 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:29PM (#50988727) Homepage
    Who is responsible for my fear of snakes? Venomous snakes.
    Who is responsible for my Islamophobia? Jihadists/Islamic "extremists"/Islamic terrorists.
    If Muslims want to decry rampant Islamophobia, they should stop being the assholes of planet Earth.
  • by alvieboy ( 61292 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @05:38PM (#50988805) Homepage

    All started with arrest of a young man at school for a hand-made, digital clock brought to school. Ended up not being that hand-made, was just some reassembly of some parts. Not much interesting, actually.

    It caught attention due to alledged racism or religion issues (still to be confirmed?). Even the White House and President of USA have spoken on behalf of this young, intelligent man.

    Which apparently was not that intelligent, techically speaking.

    And now he seeks damages of, what ? 15 million ?
    I would agree if he'd seek for 5 to 10K. But even then, after all publicity he got around him, probably not so much.

    There's a word for what he (his family) is seeking. The word is "extorsion".

    He had it (a plausible reason). He lost it. Nohing more to see here, really.

  • Okay now I give up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @06:01PM (#50989003)
    I defended this kid before, thinking that it sucks to get misunderstood and just because his dad is an obnoxious pot stirring lawyer doesn't mean the kid had anything to do with it but this is just stupid. I hope they get counter sued and lose hard.
  • by CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Monday November 23, 2015 @10:45PM (#50991045)

    You... you... you've insulted me. I'm hurt. I hurt, and my soul hurts!
    Here's $15,000,000.00
    Oh, now I'm OK!

  • by codeButcher ( 223668 ) on Tuesday November 24, 2015 @07:44AM (#50992733)

    Gotta love muslims*. Move to a certain country ostensibly for a better future, then try to change that country and society to be the same as the one left behind.

    I know one shouldn't blame the victim, but in many cases the so-called victims of islama"phobia" weren't just innocently walking along minding their own business.... And I for one feel it is very applicable to also take a hard and critical look at the victim's actions that led to them wanting to be labeled victims.

    * = I also know I shouldn't stereotype and should have probably written "some muslims". It's just so sad that the daeshbag minority is so visible and vocal, while the silent, conservative, hard-working, intelligent, empathic majority are quietly working along being productive members of the societies they find themselves in.

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