Ahmed Mohamed and his 4th Amendment audit

Whether Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving high schooler who was detained for bringing an improvised clock to school, was acting as he claims to impress with his engineering skills or was deliberately trying to provoke a response from school officials with his devise, what he did essentially was conduct an audit of his school’s respect for the his rights to be secure in his person and property.

Possessing something that a government official believes is suspicious is not a crime, and Mohamed never portrayed the improvised clock as anything other than a benign experiment, even according to police statements. Despite no articulable suspicion or probable cause that he had committed a crime or had intended to, he was nevertheless detained and questioned against his will for more than an hour. The police and school officials failed to respect Mohamed’s rights, so taxpayers will likely be on the hook for a hefty settlement.

First and second amendment auditors have gain a following for their videoed encounters with law enforcement. In the same fashion, their detractors call them provocateurs too, but these documented experiences have helped to educate the general public about people’s rights for free speech and self-defense. I hope Mohamed’s unfortunate experience brings the same enlightenment.

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