Judge dismisses ‘clock boy’ lawsuit

Student Ahmed Mohamed, who was arrested when he brought a homemade clock to school in Irving, Texas, is shown with astronaut Col. Benjamin Alvin Drew at the White House Astronomy Night in 2015. A federal judge dismissed the family's lawsuit alleging his arrest violated his constitutional rights. Pool Photo by Aude Guerrucci/UPI | License Photo

May 19 (UPI) — A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the father of Ahmed Mohamed, the “clock boy” whose homemade invention administrators mistook for a bomb.

Mohamed made national news in 2015 when he brought the digital clock he made at home into school to show a teacher. The principal at MacArthur High School thought the device was a bomb and called police. The teen was taken into custody and initially charged with making a “hoax bomb.” The charges were quickly dropped but Mohamed was suspended from school for three days.

In the wake of the incident, officials faced questions about whether Mohamed had been the victim of anti-Muslim stereotypes. The incident even prompted former President Barack Obama to weigh in, offering his support for the student and inviting him to a White House astronomy night.

“They knew it wasn’t a bomb, that he never threatened anyone, that he never said it was a bomb, that he never alarmed anyone,” Susan Hutchison, the family’s attorney said after the suit was filed. “Despite all of those things, they yanked him out of his chair, put him in handcuffs and arrested him. There was no cause for arrest.”

Mohamed’s father filed a lawsuit against the city of Irving, Texas, and the Irving school district, alleging his son’s constitutional rights had been violated.

A judge on Friday ruled in favor of the city and school district, saying the principal’s first obligation in the situation was to protect students’ safety.

In a statement, lawyers for the district defended the principal’s actions.

“The court recognized the challenging situations faced by the individuals who serve our communities in public schools,” the statement said. “Schools and principals must make decisions every day regarding student safety. The opinion confirms that there was no suggestion of discriminatory intent by any school district employee.”

In dismissing the suit against the police department, the judge ruled that Mohamed’s lawyers presented no evidence that Mohamed’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure had been violated.

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