Protest in DC9 Case
Update, 12:45 p.m.:
The protesters have left the Wilson Building and Pennsylvania Avenue is reopened.
Update, 12:30 p.m.:
Post reporter Tim Craig reports from the Wilson Building:
More than 200 people marched to the John A. Wilson Building demanding to speak to District politicians about the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed..
Chanting "we want justice, we want answers," the crowd spilled onto Pennsylvania Avenue, forcing police to close the east bound lane.
Several protesters entered the building, demanding that elected officials come outside and address the crowd.
"No matter who you are,no matter where you live, when someone loses their life, that's a problem," Council Chairman-Elect Kwame Brown told the crowd.
But the protesters say they are not leaving until they find Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents U street, where the incident took place.
Update, 12:15 p.m.:
The protest has moved to the Wilson Building and protesters have blocked part of Pennsylvania Avenue.
About 100 friends and family of Ali Ahmed Mohammed gathered outside the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District on Monday to protest prosecutors' decision to drop charges against the five men accused of beating Mohammed outside DC9, a popular nightclub.
Mohammed, 27, of Silver Spring, died later at a hospital. Authorities say the District's medical examiner's office has not found injuries consistent with a brutal beating.
The men, initially charged with murder, had been scheduled to appear in court today for a preliminary hearing on aggravated assault charges.
Mohammed's mother, Sashie Bule, carried a sign that read "We want justice now" The sign also had Mohammed's picture on it. Bule said her son "deserved justice."
"I need answers," she said. "I want to know what happened to my son. He didn't deserve this."
Police say Mohammed had been denied admission to the club and later came back after closing and threw bricks through the window. Authorities said the five men, who were employees of the club, chased Mohammed, held him down and punched and kicked him.
Mohammed, an Ethiopian immigrant, had worked as a security guard and sandwich maker at a local deli.
Protesters also chanted "Where is the justice America?"
Nunu Waco, Mohammed's cousin, said her family was "appalled" by the decision by prosecutors to drop the charges.
"Our family deserves better. American citizens deserve better," she said.
On Friday, when the charges were dropped, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. said in a statement that his office needed more information, including a final conclusion by the medical examiner, before moving forward. He said the investigation would continue.
"Our work is not done," Machen said. "The tragic death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed demands that we undertake a careful and comprehensive investigation to determine precisely how he died. . . . The search for justice cannot be rushed, and we will continue to pursue an active and vigorous inquiry."
Inside the office of 555 4th St. NW, employees were seen gathered at the windows of their offices looking out at the protesters. Some employees, lowered the blinds. After the 45-minute demonstration, the protesters marched to the Justice Department to hold a similar protest.
Keith L. Alexander
| November 8, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse, Keith L. Alexander, The District
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