City Desk

DC9 Lawyer: It was a Citizen’s Arrest

It was a citizen's arrest.

In closing arguments, lawyer Andrew Kline said that's what happened in the vicinity of DC9 on October 15, when Ali Ahmed Mohammed wound up dead. When DC9 co-owner Bill Spieler and employees Darryl Carter, Reginald Phillips, Evan Preller, and Arthur Zaloga chased Mohammed down the street, after a perhaps inebriated—and definitely angry—Mohammed hurled two bricks through one of the establishment's windows (Mohammed wanted to be let into the club), Kline said, they were within their rights. "They were effectuating a citizen's arrest."

That argument seemed not to win over the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) board. The board decided DC9 was an "imminent danger" and that the summary suspension of the venue's liquor license would continue for the next 30 days. The board will convene a status hearing at the end of that period in order to decide what to do next.

The hearing that led up to that decision began with Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) investigator Erin Mathieson, the only witness called by city lawyer Louise Phillips. Mathieson cleaved closely to an investigative report she earlier submitted to the board. Mathieson interviewed MPD investigators following the death of Mohammed. They told her witnesses saw the suspects chase down Mohammed and beat him.  But there was one important difference in the way Mathieson presented her findings from the stand. The report told that Zaloga had reached Mohammed first and tackled him, while police charging documents placed Preller in that role. Mathieson demurred to cops and corrected her earlier statement in her testimony.

Next  on the stand was Joe Englert. Attempting to keep his license, Englert testified that those accused of pummeling Mohammed to death were "gentle people." He called the events leading up to Mohammed's death "extraordinary," and though the co-owner wasn't there on the night in question, he argued that the men had only detained Mohammed. Despite believing the DC9 men are innocent, Englert promised that, if his place were ever allowed to open again, there would be improvements. Surveillance cameras have already been installed in the club, and he's planning to retrain his staff. Then Englert mentioned something that seems like bad news for anyone hoping to see the club open again. He would be helping to pay for the training, as "at this point, there's no money left at DC9."

At one point, ABC board member Mital Gandhi let Englert know he wasn't impressed: "I'm not satisfied right now." Gandhi later added, "There's been a death here. This isn't someone getting a black eye."

The next witness wasn't actually there. A seven-minute interview by Channel 7  with DC9 bartender Damon Dixon was played, because Dixon was unavailable,  as he's testifying in front of the grand jury today in connection to the DC9 criminal case. In the video, Dixon contended he'd seen the chase and capture of Mohammed and that the five men didn't try to hurt him: "One was just kind of pressing him down and the other was restraining his hand."

Other witnesses for the defense mostly spoke to Englert's credibility as a club owner and what would happen at DC9 going forward. There was also an important audio recording played.

The argument that the men facing aggravated assault charges in the wake of Mohammed's death were making a citizen's arrest will probably show up in the criminal trial. According to D.C. code, a citizen's arrest is legal. If that proves to get the accused off, those seeking justice for Mohammed will likely see the law as a loophole through which Mohammed's attackers escaped proper punishment.

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  • downtown rez

    Still chewing on the first sentence.
    Andrew Kline is a Great Falls living Restaurant association hack.
    If DC9 had a legal leg to stand on they were stupid to hire him.

  • Incognito

    "Surveillance cameras have already been installed in the club, and he’s planning to retrain his staff."

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how many of Joe Englert's clubs have video cameras in them? I'm sure there are lots of people who wouldn't want to be videotaped while there out drinking and generally making fools of themselves (and I mean that in the best way possible).

  • Incognito

    oops there=they're.

  • Rick Mangus

    Yea, they were effecuating a citizen's arrest and execution!

    After reading this shit ball attorney Andrew Kline's defense statement, it goes to show that Shakespeare was right!

  • Truth Hurts

    "A citizen's arrest." Priceless defense. DC9's gotta go.

    Nobody may use deadly force to effectuate an arrest for a property crime (eg, breaking a window).

    Imagine the outcry if 5 uniformed MPD cops chased down a guy who'd thrown a brick through a window, and the perp ended up DEAD.

  • Rachel

    @Incognito This is a fairly common practice for club owners in the city. Most of the these tapes are not kept except in the case of an incident such as this, where the information recorded would have answered many of the questions people are still asking and arguing over. Check the corners of any club or bar next time you're out, no doubt you'll notice that you've been overlooking them all this time.

  • Bob

    It is just fascinating how many people are willing to rush to judgment and condemn these folks before a cause of death has been determined. "execution"? deadly force? Perhaps so, but hopefully we will get some clarity as to whether that is true, or not.

  • Rick Mangus

    So what is taking the M.E. so long to do a tox screen and cause of death?

  • DCBar

    I'm pretty sure Andrew Kline can't be DC9's lawyer. Isn't he suspended by the DC Bar until March 2011?

  • Bob

    Mangus, why are you worried about the ME's report?? You have already decided these folks are guilty. Why trouble yourself with facts?

  • Rick Mangus

    Because, 'Bob', One this guy didn't slip in the shower and two we know that MPD and the U.S. Attornys Office are a bunch of incomptent morons, I want to see if this extends to the M.E. Office as well!

  • noodlez

    THAT'S NOT FAIR! NO ONE TOLD THIS WAS BULLSHIT WEEK!!

    ANDREW KLINE AND MIKE SHANAHAN REMINDS ME OF DREZ AND TRUTH HURTS. PURE BULL SHIT ARTISTS! THAT CITIZENS ARREST SHIT WAS WEAKER THAN "GROSSMAN KNEW THE 2MIN OFFENSE" LOAD SHANNY TRIED TO DROP ON US SUN EVE.

    IF CLUB U WAS SHUT DOWN THEN DC9 SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN TOO! MOVE THAT SHIT TO FREDERICK, FAIRFAX OR WHERE EVER THE FUCK THEY COME FROM TO LISTEN TO THAT BAMA ASS SHIT!

    WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS WHERE IS THE PROOF THEY MADE OR ATTEMPTED TO MAKE A CITIZENS ARREST?

  • Bob

    noodlez, if you could read, you would know their version is that they went after him and held him and called mpd after he broke the window. If that is all true(and i'm not saying it is--who knows in this crazy case), that IS a citizen's arrest. Look at that tape of the employee who was not arrested. that's what he says happened. As for me, I don't know, but I prefer facts before condemning people. There is no "proof" of anything at this point, other than Ali Mohammed broke the window, and tragically lost his life after being chased by the DC-9 folks. If it were all so clear and simple, I suspect we would have an ME's report and homicide charges by now. I feel for Mohammed's family, but also wonder about these 5 men, if they didnt do anything but hold him, and it turns out they are wrongly accused. And Mangus, no he didnt "slip in the shower", but what IS the cause of death? Clearly not a beating, it seems.

  • Rodney King

    Look on the bright side guys, if these 5 thugs get out of jail free they can work for the LA Police Department.

  • Dan

    Just an observation: It's entirely possible that "effectuating a citizen's arrest" was enough to kill this guy. The bouncers might be telling the truth when they say they didn't beat him to death. But if they "restrained" him with a forearm around his neck that cut off his air and the blood to his brain, or if somebody put their knees on his chest so he couldn't breathe, they are responsible for his death. Trained police officers have inadvertently killed people they were trying to subdue with choke holds and other control techniques; it's not hard to believe that five untrained bar bouncers could do similar damage, especially if they're egging each other on.

  • Bob

    I agree Dan. That is why any conclusions before the ME's report are irresponsible (Chief Lanier?)

  • Bob

    Further, and I am not suggesting, or even speculating on the cause of death, but if he died from beating injuries or suffocation, as you suggest, one conclusion is inescapable. If he died of a drug overdose (dont get crazy people, I am not suggesting there is any evidence of that, only exploring theoretical possibilities), it would seem another conclusion is likely. If he died of a heart attack, I suppose we might argue forever about cause and effect and the role of the 5 in possibly bringing that on.

  • noodlez

    YO Bob I CAN READ AND READ IT CORRECTLY. I MAY BE A BIT FUZZY ON THE DETAILS OF THE PROPER WAY TO MAKE A CITIZENS ARREST. HOWEVER BODY SLAMING A PERSON AND THROWING BLOWS BY ANOTHER PERSON AND HAVING ANOTHER PERSON CALL THE POLICE SOME HOW TO ME DOESNT FIT THE DESCIPTION OF A CITIZENS ARREST.

    MAYBE MY QUESTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN DID ANY ONE OF THE FIVE INVOLVED CALL THE POLICE TO MAKE A CITIZENS ARREST?

  • Bob

    according to the video of the employee on the news reports, that's exactly what they did, and I dont think it's in dispute. whether he was body slammed and hit, is in dispute, which is why I prefer waiting for more facts. What if it were you who acted impulsively to grab this person and hold him for police? (If that's all that happened, we just don't know yet)As for me, I would hope that people would hold off judging and condemning me until all the facts came out. That's all I'm saying.

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