Ahmed Mohamed is, it seems, going to be fine. The Irving 14-year-old, arrested earlier this week after bringing a homemade clock to school, received a worldwide outpouring of support Wednesday, a day Mohamed concluded with a smiling, confident press conference.
Monday morning, Mohamed brought the clock to school. He was hoping, he said, to impress his engineering teacher. Later in the day, he showed his English teacher the clock. She thought it looked suspicious and reported it to the principal. The principal brought in the Irving Police Department. Wednesday, Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said the clock looked like something that could be dangerous and was not built as part of a school assignment. Mohamed's arrest had nothing to do with the teenager's ethnicity, Boyd said.
"[The pictures of the clock] show that it was certainly suspicious in nature," Boyd said. "We live in an age where you can't take things like that to school."
Mohamed was arrested Monday afternoon for making a hoax bomb and hauled out of the school in handcuffs, something that Boyd said was standard procedure to protect people who've been arrested. Wednesday, Mohamed said that police questioned him without either of his parents or a lawyer being present. When the teenager's dad was able to get to the police station, Mohamed was released. Irving police dropped the charges against Mohamed on Wednesday, saying there was "no evidence that he intended to cause alarm."
Over the course of the day Wednesday, Mohamed received messages from President Obama, who invited Mohamed to the White House, Hillary Clinton and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. A Twitter account set up for Mohamed by his sister quickly picked up 40,000 followers. Across the world, people came to the teenager's defense and accused both Irving ISD and the Irving Police Department of being anti-Muslim.
Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.— President Obama (@POTUS) September 16, 2015
Assumptions and fear don't keep us safe—they hold us back. Ahmed, stay curious and keep building. https://t.co/ywrlHUw3g1— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 16, 2015
Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne, best known for waging an exhausting, quixotic crusade against Sharia law, issued a statement in support of Irving police. As documented by the Dallas Morning News' Avi Selk — who broke the whole clock story Tuesday night — she quickly changed it to remove a reference to "violent acts" in public schools and the need for more "vigilance."
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At his press conference, Mohamed said he wants to be done with Irving MacArthur High School, from which he's suspended until Thursday. He wants to transfer, he said, before heading to the Texas Academy of Math and Science at the University of North Texas and then MIT. He's going to take the president up on that White House invitation, too, he said. Mohamed saved his best line of the day for a reporter who asked him if he would meet with Boyd.
"Not without my lawyer, no," Mohamed said.