City Desk

Ethiopian Community Presses Prosecutor for Answers

U.S. Attorney Ron Machen met with leaders from the District's Ethiopian community Sunday. Though various subjects came up, some who attended the meeting (press was not invited) say most of the discussion concerned the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed.

But that doesn't mean community leaders walked away with many answers. "They didn't say anything," says one attendee of Machen and his staff. The community leader prefers to remain anonymous, because he got the impression the U.S. Attorney's office didn't want the media to become privy to what went on at the two-hour meeting. He says community leaders were given "the standard party line."

The gathering pressed Machen on whether prosecutors were any closer to filing charges against five DC9 employees once accused of beating Mohammed to death after the 27-year-old tossed a brick through a window. Following the arrest of the men, charges were downgraded, then dropped altogether.

Afterward, the city's medical examiner announced that Mohammed wasn't beaten by the employees, just restrained. That’s despite a police complaint that said witnesses saw Mohammed get pummeled. So Machen was also asked if the police had provided inaccurate information. An attendee says the lawyer didn't address either question directly.

"I know that the case was discussed but not in a great deal of detail," says U.S. Attorney's office spokesman William Miller. Miller says Machen assured the group that the case was still open and that prosecutors were still investigating. "He hopes to be as transparent as possible," says Miller. Miller notes that Machen does several community meetings a week.

Photo courtesy of Ali Ahmed Mohammed's family

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