When Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock to school on Monday, he was hoping to impress his teachers and classmates. Instead, he was put in handcuffs.
The 14-year-old ninth grader makes a hobby out of inventions, and when he brought a homemade clock into school fit with a circuit board and digital display, teachers became suspicious the box was actually something much, much worse.
"I got arrested for a hoax bomb," Ahmed says in a YouTube video. "They took me to a room full of five officers where they interrogated me, searched through my stuff, took my tablet and my invention, and then later that day I was taken to a juvenile detention center."
There, Ahmed was interrogated, fingerprinted, and had his mugshot taken. The police didn't even let him call his parents while he was in custody.
A photo of Ahmed being arrested in the school hallways.
After Ahmed, a Muslim, was pulled out of class and sent to a room full of police officers, he suddenly became "conscious of his brown skin and his name," according to The Dallas News. According to Ahmed, an officer who he hadn't seen on campus before remarked, "Yup. That's who I thought it was," when he walked into the room.
Despite the fact Ahmed told everyone it was a clock, the school insisted it might be a hoax bomb.
Even though the teachers and police officers seemed thrown off by his invention, Ahmed insists it wasn't even hard. He made it in 20 minutes before going to bed and it was a simple creation he put together for fun, hoping to show his teachers what he was capable of.
After showing it to his engineering teacher on Monday morning, Ahmed was disappointed by his initial response.
"He was like, 'That's really nice,'" Ahmed told The Dallas News. "'I would advise you not to show any other teachers.'"
And that was just the beginning.
The second teacher Ahmed showed the clock too wasn't impressed, either.
"She was like, it looks like a bomb," he said. "I told her, 'It doesn't look like a bomb to me.'"
And that's when things spun out of control. That teacher took Ahmed's clock and notified the principal. He was pulled out of class. At first, he expected he was about to get his clock back. But when he arrived in the room full of officers, he realized they had different plans.
Even worse is that a police spokesperson admitted they had no evidence it was meant to be a hoax bomb, yet the boy is still being suspended. Via The Dallas News:
"We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb," McLellan said. "He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation."
Asked what broader explanation the boy could have given, the spokesman explained: "It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for? Do we take him into custody?"
Now, Ahmed's father is claiming Islamophobia on the part of the school and taking his case to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"He just wants to invent good things for mankind," Ahmed's father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, an immigrant from Sudan, told the newspaper. "But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated."
As it turns out, Ahmed's father actually ran for President in Sudan. His platform? Advocating women's rights, fighting terrorism and freedom of press.
The public has not taken kindly to Ahmed's treatment. Take former NFL kicker Chris Kluwe:
The school even sent out a letter to parents. It was absent of an apology but instead encouraged children to keep reporting "suspicious items" and not to bring things to school that are prohibited. It is unclear whether clocks are not allowed on school grounds.
Here is the letter:
Update: Ahmed has now been invited to The White House by Barack Obama and to visit Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg.