The family of a 14-year-old Muslim boy accused of making a "hoax bomb" and taking it to his Irving, Texas, high school is demanding public apologies and $15 million in compensation after they say the city and school district violated their son's rights and launched a smear campaign to discredit them.
Laney & Bollinger, the law firm representing the family, sent two letters Monday demanding $10 million from the city of Irving and another $5 million from the Irving Independent School District as compensation for the damages Ahmed Mohamed suffered at the hands of employees. If the payment isn't made with within 60 days, the letters say, a civil suit will be filed.
Late Monday afternoon, the Irving Independent School District acknowledged receipt of the letter and said its "attorneys will review the information and respond as appropriate, as with any legal matter." The city of Irving also acknowledged receiving the letter Monday and said they are reviewing it and had nothing further to add.
In the lawyer's correspondence, Ahmed's family said the teen was subjected to an seven-on-one interrogation for nearly 90 minutes where he was denied his right under the Texas Juvenile Justice Code to talk to his parents.
"No. You're being interrogated, so you cannot talk to your parents," police told the boy, according to the letter.
Throughout the interview, which was recorded on an officer's iPhone, the teen "constantly was pressured to sign a written statement admitting that he intended to bring a 'hoax bomb' to school" and that if he didn't sign it he would face expulsion, the letter alleges.
Ahmed was eventually taken to a detention center, where his lawyers said he was "fingerprinted, photographed, and illegally questioned — again — without his parents' consent" and without having been read his rights.
When the teen's father was notified of his son's arrest, he arrived at the police station within minutes and said police were "openly hostile" with his family upon their arrival.
The letters also seek written apologies from Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne and Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd, whom the family's lawyers allege conspired with the principal of Irving MacArthur High School to launch a smear campaign in an attempt to save face.
The family wants the mayor to acknowledge she was never given evidence that Ahmed was a "pawn" in any "civilization jihad," which the family said the mayor endorsed as a guest on "The Glenn Beck Show" long after the police had cleared the boy of any wrongdoing.
The family wants Boyd to apologize as well, acknowledging that Ahmed never intended to threaten anyone while admitting his detention, interrogation and arrest were done when there was no reasonable suspicion he had committed, or was about to commit, a crime.
Ahmed took his clock to school in September and one of his teachers confiscated the device, suspecting it was a hoax bomb. Ahmed was arrested but never charged. He was also suspended from school.
The family accepted a foundation's offer to pay for Ahmed's education in Qatar and has since moved to the Persian Gulf country of Qatar.
Mohamed Family City of Irving Demand Letter