DC9 Dismissals Spur Protests

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., has dismissed charges against five employees of the city’s DC9 nightclub in the recent alleged beating death of a man outside the venue, fueling protests from some in the community.

Ali Ahmed Mohammed was denied entry to DC9 Oct. 15, according to police reports, and returned to throw bricks through the club’s window. The co-owner of the club and four others allegedly chased down the man and assaulted him, authorities said.

Officers reportedly arrived at the club around 2:30 a.m. and found Mohammed “lying on the ground, unconscious and not breathing,” according to court papers obtained by the Washington Post. He was described as having dried blood on his face and his head looked swollen. He was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.

In later filings, prosecutors wrote the medical examiner’s office “was unable to observe physical injuries sufficient to allow a determination on the cause of death.” Following an examination of photographs, physical evidence and interviews with many witnesses, there was “insufficient basis” to follow through on the charges, they said.

Following the news, more than 200 members of the Ethiopian community marched outside D.C. city hall during a protest Nov. 8, chanting “we want justice, we want answers,” the Post reported.

But a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office did add that the investigation is ongoing and the dismissal “does not prejudice the government’s ability to file charges arising from this incident against one or more of the defendants in the future.”

Attorneys for the DC9 employees have lashed out at local police during the investigation, telling the Post authorities “did not conduct a full investigation before improperly jumping to incorrect conclusions,” which were then passed on to the press.

Upon hearing of the dismissal of the charges, Steve McCool, who represents club co-owner Bill Spieler, said he was “confident no charges will be reinstated against my client” as the investigation continues.

The city’s Alcohol Beverage Control board reportedly voted to extend a suspension on DC9’s liquor license until Dec. 1.