City Desk

DC9 Stays Closed

Liquor authorities ruled Wednesday that DC9 will stay closed for now.

At an ABRA hearing Wednesday, lawyer Andrew Kline argued that the club should be allowed to reopen for several reasons. The club had retrained its staff, installed security cameras, and revamped its security plan. But the most critical point Kline raised was that the five club employees who'd been accused of aggravated assault were no longer facing charges in connection with the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed: "This establishment we believe has done everything that could be reasonably expected of an operator."

DC9 has been facing a 30-day suspension of its liquor license because of the Oct. 15 incident outside the club that preceeded Mohammed's death. Originally, cops asserted that he'd been beaten to death by the five employees because he threw a brick through their establishment's window. Since then, all charges against the men have been dropped for a lack of evidence.

The club hoped to reopen before the end of its suspension, in light of the derailment of the criminal complaint. Trying to convince the board, Kline made the argument that when the five men chased after Mohammed, they were within their rights, an argument he's made before. "There was a lawful citizen's arrest," said Kline. But arguing on behalf of the city, attorney Louise Phillips pointed out that the men were still being investigated, and that the board should wait for the much-anticipated autopsy report of Mohammed before allowing the business to open its doors again.

One of the sticking points for board members was that it wasn't really clear whether the men involved in the October incident would be working at a reopened DC9. When asked whether they would, Kline hedged: "Right now, no one is working there, the place is closed." He later said they would not work there in the "foreseeable future."

The board wasn't in the mood for ambiguity. "How do you treat a licensee who chases someone down and puts their hands on them?" board chair Charles Brodsky would later growl.

Outside, when the news that DC9 would not be allowed to reopen reached a crowd protesting the idea of letting the place off the hook, they cheered. But Roger Gordon, who has been acting as a media adviser to Mohammed's family, told the crowd the hearing was somewhat of a hollow victory, as it didn't shut DC9 down permanently. "This is not justice—this is dicking us around," he told them.

The board will reconvene on Dec. 1 to decide what to do next. They'll be navigating some tough issues.

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  • Xose

    Maybe dude should've thought twice before chucking a brick through the window, and he wouldn't have been chased down and had someone put "there" hands on him.

    There's no case here, which is why charges were dropped. The commission is bowing to mob rule.

  • joe cameltoe

    Sorry, Mr. Gordon, but it's not your clients who are being dicked around. Agree with Xose--ABRA is more concerned with facing an angry mob than with evaluating this case on the merits.

  • downtown rez

    It seems prudent to wait for the investigation to be concluded.

  • BB

    @downtown rez

    You might want to remind the Ethiopian community to do that.

  • http://Washingtoncitypaper Hager

    Kassahun says:
    The fact is Bill Spieler, Evan Preller, Arthur Zaloga, Reginald Phillips, and Darryl Carter have attacked brutally and fatally a man who was under the influence of alchohol. This people should have known better because they are in the business of getting people drunk, and not selling holy water. That is why the police are needed, to take care of issues like this. This is not the wild west where vigilante justice is the way. It is unfortunate that these five guys fall for Ali’s drunk judgement. Ali isn’t innocent. If he was alive, probably he would have been taken to jail. But in 2010 here in the great capital of the U.S.A, which is the seat of the president, senate, congress and the supreme court, is unbelievable to see or here what this five guys did. Specially, with the type of connection and money these people got, one would expect certain level of decency. Probably, they may believe that they can influence the law because of a wrong perception that Ali is a poor foreigner, they should be rest assured that they will face justice appropriately because they did it in the wrong place. What worst could we expect from Taliban or Alkaeda. In my view what this people did, amounts to terrorism. Terrorizing a community so that this would never happen again. Lets give them a lesson kinda. What I know about five guys is cracking peanuts and eating juicy burger. Just to keep the good name of five guys burger joint, lets call them five coward animals.

  • Justice

    Which one is the sweet word ‘Beating’ vs. ‘puts-their-hands’

    Why the employees+co-owner, five of them, angry?

    I know he broke their window. So what; wasn’t that insurance/police to take action on their behalf? Assuming they were trained / co-ownered, five-of- them-witnessed, and/or insured.

    Did they call police after they chased, beat, and ‘citizen's arrested’ him?

    Are they tested for drug any ways?

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