Saturday, September 19, 2015

They never thought he had a bomb . . . but they arrested him anyway.

This is a very disturbing post making the rounds and forwarded from Daily Kos, suggesting that the police in Irving, Texas did not actually think that Ahmed Mohamed had brought a bomb to school when they arrested him for bringing his home-made digital clock to school to show his teacher.

The implication is pretty ugly and the worst kind of racial stereotyping -- or else evidence of gross stupidity on the part of police.   Here's the post:
I said: it's sad they thought that kid had a bomb.
She said: they didn't think he had a bomb.
I said: yes, they thought he made a bomb and even called the police.
She said: They just wanted to humiliate a little Muslim boy. They didn't think he had a bomb. . . .

But they didn't evacuate the school, like you do when there's a bomb.
They didn't call a bomb squad
- like you do when there's a bomb. 
They didn't get as far away from him as possible
, like you do when there's a bomb. . . .
Then they waited with him for the police to arrive, and then
they put the clock in the same car as the police. . . . 

I said: Damn.....They never thought he had a bomb
It turns out that's right.   The police chief confirmed that they knew pretty quickly that it was not a bomb, but they arrested him anyway, put him in cuffs and took him to juvenile detention -- because they assumed he had tried to make a bomb . . . or that he had made a fake bomb to try to scare people.

Chris Hayes on "All In" on MSNBC Thursday night interviewed Irving police chief Larry Boyd.
BOYD:  "The officers pretty quickly determined that they weren’t investigating an explosive device. What their investigation centered around is the law violation of bringing a device into a facility like that that is intended to create a level of alarm. In other words, a hoax bomb — something that is not really a bomb, but is designed and presented in a way that it creates people to be afraid.”

HAYES:  “Right, but he never called it a bomb, rightHe just kept calling it a clock. I mean, it never came out of his lips, he never did something or started showing it around saying, ‘Look at this bomb I have.’ He said, ‘Look at my clock.'” 

BOYD:  “There definitely was some confusion and some level of information that didn’t come out immediately. [explaining that, in many cases, someone who would make a “hoax bomb” would not be likely to admit to doing so to police.] “With what they had at that time, they made the best decision that they had at that point in time.”
Does anyone have the slightest doubt -- if Ahmed had been named Joe and was blond and blue-eyed -- that this would not have caused a panic?   This is clearly fear-induced stupidity resulting directly from the Islamaphobic bigots brainwashing people into fear of all Muslims. 

What's wrong with this country?   Bravo to President Obama for countering this with a Tweet of praise to Ahmed and an invitation to bring his clock to the White House.

The best case to be made is that police are terrified that they will miss spotting a terrorist who will then blow things up and kill people.   But this requires a bit of judgment and common sense, or else you overreact and arrest too many innocents -- and seems to be the case here.   There is nothing scary or sinister looking about 14 year old Ahmed, and he never said or acted in any way suspicious.   He simply did the 14 year old nerd kid version of show and tell.


PS:  As the story expands, it seems that Irving has a level of prejudice against Muslims that has been amplified by the mayor's highly visible actions and words prior to this incident.   And her response to this incident was to praise the police for keeping the school and city safe.

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