Police in Irving, Texas blamed a 14-year-old boy for his own arrest after the boy’s teachers called his homemade clock a “hoax bomb,” KXAS-TV reported.
“I tried making a phone call to my father. They said, ‘You’re in the middle of an interrogation, you can’t have a phone call,'” Ahmed Mohamed said of the encounter. “I really don’t think it’s fair because I brought something to school that wasn’t a threat to anyone. I didn’t do anything wrong. I just showed my teachers something and I end up being arrested later that day.”
Mohamed was led out of MacArthur High School in handcuffs on Monday afternoon, hours after showing the clock to his engineering teacher as a demonstration of his aptitude for working with electronics. He showed the clock to his English teacher after it rang while he carried it inside his backpack.
“She said, ‘Well it looks like a bomb. Don’t show it to anyone else,'” the boy recalled. “And she decides to take it from me.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Principal Daniel Cummings and an officer pulled him out of sixth period and took him into a room where four other officers were waiting. One of them allegedly said of Mohamed, “Yup. That’s who I thought it was,” even though he had never met the teen.
“He just wants to invent good things for mankind,” said the boy’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, who emigrated to the US from Sudan. “But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated.”
However, police spokesperson James McLellan said the younger Mohamed was not “forthcoming” enough during his questioning and failed to give a “broader explanation” for the clock, saying he could still be charged.
“It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car,” McLellan said. “The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?”
The North Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is reportedly investigating the incident.
“This all raises a red flag for us — how Irving’s government entities are operating in the current climate,” said the chapter’s leader, Alia Salem.
Watch KXAS’ report, as aired on Tuesday, below.
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