DALLAS (CN) - The father of "clock boy" Ahmed Mohamed sued a Dallas suburb, its school district and a high school principal Monday over his son's interrogation and arrest last year for bringing a homemade clock to school that was deemed a "hoax" bomb.
Mohamed Alhassan Mohamed sued the city of Irving, the Irving Independent School District and MacArthur High School principal Daniel Cummings in federal court for alleged violations of his 14-year-old son's civil rights.
The lawsuit claims Irving ISD has a "long and ugly history of race struggles."
A black Muslim immigrant from Sudan, Mohamed has said he built the clock at home using a circuit board and power supply that he wired to a digital display inside a metal pencil case.
When he brought the device to school in September to show to a teacher, he was interrogated and arrested. An image of a bewildered Mohamed being led away in handcuffs quickly trended on Twitter with the hashtag #IStandWithMohamed.
Irving officials later determined no crime had been committed and Mohamed was released to his parents. School officials suspended him for three days, but his family withdrew him from school before he returned. Mohamed's family shortly thereafter accepted an offer to move to Qatar on scholarship for the rest of his high school and undergraduate studies.
The family has since returned to Irving for the summer break.
Mohamed told reporters Monday that he has "lost a lot of things" due to the arrest.
"I have lost my home, I lost my creativity because before I used to love building things and now I can't," he said at a press conference. "There is nothing I can do.
Mohamed said he misses living in Irving, but he cannot stay because of death threats his family continues to receive.
"I get lots of hate, I got support in the beginning, but it is the hate that sticks," he said. "Some of the hate is so damaging. What did I ever to someone to get death threats?"
The 35-page complaint includes a transcript of a an expletive-filled voicemail message recently left with an Irving Muslim civil rights organization that threatened to behead all Muslims and suggested "another Christian crusade."
The complaint disputes claims by Irving police that Ahmed was "less than forthcoming" during the 90-minutes long interrogation by police and school officials.
Mohamed's attorney, Susan Hutchison with Hutchison & Stoy in Fort Worth, denied the clock was ever a "hoax" bomb.
"He told them over and over, 'this is an alarm clock that I made for my teacher,'" she said. "In spite of the fact that they knew it was not a bomb and that he never threatened anyone or said it was a bomb, they yanked him out of his chair, put him in handcuffs and arrested him."
The complaint alleges Cummings threatened Mohamed with expulsion if he did not write a statement and that his requests for his parents were denied.
"The officers pulled him forcefully out of his chair, yanked his arms up behind his back so far that his right hand touched the back of his neck, causing a lot of pain," the complaint states. "They placed Ahmedin handcuffs and marched him out of the front of the school, four officers grabbing onto him, two on each side holding his hands and his arms. They put him into the back of a police car. They took him to the police station and booked him as a criminal, with mug shots and fingerprinting - all still without his parents."
The Department of Justice announced in December an investigation into possible civil rights violations during the arrest. That investigation is ongoing.
Irving ISD said Monday it "will have no further comment at this time" due to the litigation and that its attorneys are reviewing the lawsuit.
"Irving ISD continues to deny violating the student's rights and will respond to claims in accordance with court rules," the district said in a statement.
Mohamed's previous attorney, Kelly Hollingsworth with Laney & Bollinger in Plainview, demanded $15 million and a written apology from the city and school district in December.
They were given 60 days to comply or face a civil rights lawsuit, according to the demand letter.
Mohamed seeks injunctive and declaratory relief and actual and punitive damages for violations of his son's civil rights.
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