Fourteen-year-old Ahmed Mohamed from Irving, Texas, is a keen inventor. But when he bought his latest project to school to show his teachers, he was arrested and asked whether he'd tried to make a bomb instead.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Ahmed, who likes to make radios, fix his own go-kart and is a member of his school robotics club, made a simple electronic clock using a switchboard, put it in his pencil case, and took it to school on Monday.
Ahmed's engineering teacher was impressed, but when the clock beeped in his bag during a later English lesson, a teacher thought it looked like a bomb.
The school phoned the police. Ahmed was hauled out of the classroom by a teacher and a police officer and interrogated by five officers in total, all the while insisting that he hadn't bought a bomb to school.
In a video interview, Ahmed told The Dallas Morning News that a police officer he'd never met before looked him up and down and said "Yup. That’s who I thought it was.”
They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’ I told them no, I was trying to make a clock. He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’
The principal threatened to expel him if he didn't make a written statement. Ahmed was arrested and led out of school in handcuffs to a juvenile detention centre, where his fingerprints were taken, and he was later allowed to go home.
Ahmed was suspended from school for three days and the police have said he might be charged with making a hoax bomb.
A police spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News:
We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb... He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.
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?
Ahmed's clock is still sitting in a police evidence room. He's vowed to never take an invention to school again.