Three days after an Irving ninth-grader was detained for hours over a hand-wired clock that obviously wasn’t a bomb, a senior police detective wrote a prescient email.
“This,” detective Rodney Bergeron wrote to another officer, “is what happens when we screw something up.”
Irving police knew almost immediately that Ahmed Mohamed’s home project wasn’t a bomb, yet detained him as school officials accused him of a “lookalike weapon” banned by school rule.
Now, a lawyer has sent Irving city and school officials a demand for $15 million in damages, claiming the MacArthur High School student was detained and suspended unfairly and that city officials maliciously hinted at untold other wrongdoing.
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No lawsuit has been filed, and any eventual claim might vary greatly. So far, attorneys have only sent a demand letter.
But for now, Irving officials can take their own detective’s word to heart: This is what happens when police screw something up.
Once police determined that the student’s clock was not a bomb or meant as a threat, they should have left classroom discipline to school officials.
The problem is not that or why police detained the student, but how he was handled afterward.