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Protest in DC9 Case

By Keith L. Alexander
Keith L. Alexander

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.

Original Post:
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.

By Keith L. Alexander  | November 8, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse, Keith L. Alexander, The District  
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Comments

I wish I knew this was happening. I looked all over the Internet over the weekend looking for information on any planned gathering to protect the decission, but I didn't see any. Please post future gatherings about this case on blogs and Ethiopian news outlets. Thank you.

Posted by: ffx30 | November 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't see how the charges can go from murder to assault to dropped. A man is dead and no one is being held responsible for it. D.C. is a joke.

Posted by: dtysko | November 8, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what would have happened to him in Ethiopia if he threw a brick through a window and hit patrons. I want justice as well, I want DC9's liquor license immediately reinstated. The charges were dropped, therefore there is no reason for a tax paying business to have to suffer financial losses because an immigrant group is "outraged." The people that work in this establishment are losing income due to this man's utter disregard for anyone ELSE's safety. What about the business owner's window? Are all of the "outraged" members of this man's family going to pay for the window? Did any of them call upon any of the people who were hit by the bricks or the broken glass? No, sorry, you don't get to come to this country and become a nuisance and then expect "justice." I've nevver been to DC9, but I will go now. I've been told by patrons that it employs a diverse mix of WORKING people. Shame on DC for making them suffer for something no one can prove happened.

Posted by: stopthemadness | November 8, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

this is why police chiefs should not go around making inflamatory statements about "vigilantes" at crime scenes before all the facts are in.
I think the men should be charged with something, even if it's just simple assault. but certainly the autopsy work needs to be finished first.
i can understand the families frustration, but cooler heads need to prevail.

Posted by: MarilynManson | November 8, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@stopthemadness I agree with you 150% in Ethiopia homeboy might've had his hand chopped off for such crime where in many other places outside America thats how they do. You don't go into other peoples country's, act stupid, and expect Justice for repercussions.

But lets take them being foreign out the equation. There are so many familys in this country who cry and demand justice after some young bad kid happens to bite the bullet for being stupid. No one deserves to die in this time, you don't put your selves in situations that COULD cost you. You have many parents in the hood who cry about their dead sons but didn't know that the kid was out there trying to play the roll of some "thug". But when Karma caught up with that @$$ and he's 6ft. under it's tears and "oh my baby was a straight A student and wouldn't harm a fly..." etc etc. How do I know, because I've lived it. Not all these kids are bad. But many of them are trying to be things they're not and get caught up.

NOW IN A CLUB SCENE; employees get heckled severley to the point of death threats in these establishments. I'm always in the Club scene and it's sad and scary to. A young Ethiopian kid just throws a Brick into a window (harming folks inside) and you think he did it quietly prior and during...HELL no. I'm sure he was flaring and was very violent. Some People in the club scene who get slap drunk tend to think they're superman, talk ish and make threats and before you know it he's getting mopped all over the club floor or outside the club for being mouth oh mighty. There are many club employees who get threats especially from those who get kicked out the club and get the famous "OH I'LL BE BACK"..and from that point you're on guard. I'm very sure this kid did the typical and ran his mouth to the wrong people and to people who weren't going to sit around and wait for something to happen so they deal with you quick. I know this for working in the club scene for a bit. People don't really know how serious things can get behind closed doors while we're providin entertainment to these people. Death Threats are ALWAYS being made. That's why police are always present at these clubs. My heart goes out to that kid but his stupid actions is what costed him his life. If You're on here, a parent, please tell your kid not to play the thug roll. You better REALLY get to know your kid and ways. You think your kids a saint but could be with the wrong crowd and playing gangsta. That won't fly with guys who will check that ASAP. I'm almost sure I know how these guys got the chargers dropped and if thats the case I'm happy for them. No one deserves to die but you don't be stupid and put Bouncers or people of authority in a position to use force. Too many bouncers dead for people coming back from damaged ego's. This is sad, but whats even more sad is that they don't realize that their kid brought this on himsel so what they're hollering they can shove it..

Posted by: BlacKRaiN7 | November 8, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@stopthemadness I agree with you 150% in Ethiopia homeboy might've had his hand chopped off for such crime where in many other places outside America thats how they do. You don't go into other peoples country's, act stupid, and expect Justice for repercussions.

But lets take them being foreign out the equation. There are so many familys in this country who cry and demand justice after some young bad kid happens to bite the bullet for being stupid. No one deserves to die in this time, you don't put your selves in situations that COULD cost you. You have many parents in the hood who cry about their dead sons but didn't know that the kid was out there trying to play the roll of some "thug". But when Karma caught up with that @$$ and he's 6ft. under it's tears and "oh my baby was a straight A student and wouldn't harm a fly..." etc etc. How do I know, because I've lived it. Not all these kids are bad. But many of them are trying to be things they're not and get caught up.

NOW IN A CLUB SCENE; employees get heckled severley to the point of death threats in these establishments. I'm always in the Club scene and it's sad and scary to. A young Ethiopian kid just throws a Brick into a window (harming folks inside) and you think he did it quietly prior and during...HELL no. I'm sure he was flaring and was very violent. Some People in the club scene who get slap drunk tend to think they're superman, talk ish and make threats and before you know it he's getting mopped all over the club floor or outside the club for being mouth oh mighty. There are many club employees who get threats especially from those who get kicked out the club and get the famous "OH I'LL BE BACK"..and from that point you're on guard. I'm very sure this kid did the typical and ran his mouth to the wrong people and to people who weren't going to sit around and wait for something to happen so they deal with you quick. I know this for working in the club scene for a bit. People don't really know how serious things can get behind closed doors while we're providin entertainment to these people. Death Threats are ALWAYS being made. That's why police are always present at these clubs. My heart goes out to that kid but his stupid actions is what costed him his life. If You're on here, a parent, please tell your kid not to play the thug roll. You better REALLY get to know your kid and ways. You think your kids a saint but could be with the wrong crowd and playing gangsta. That won't fly with guys who will check that ASAP. I'm almost sure I know how these guys got the chargers dropped and if thats the case I'm happy for them. No one deserves to die but you don't be stupid and put Bouncers or people of authority in a position to use force. Too many bouncers dead for people coming back from damaged ego's. This is sad, but whats even more sad is that they don't realize that their kid brought this on himsel so what they're hollering they can shove it..

Posted by: BlacKRaiN7 | November 8, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Where is my comment?

Posted by: ffx30 | November 8, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@BlackRain7 and Stopthemadness...the 2 of u cannot be serious. I don't care if this dude threw HIMSELF thru the window of this establishment. The club should have insurance and the window would have been fixed. If they went after him, the most they should have done was hold him down until police were called and had arrived. The police would have taken him to jail and charged him with destruction of property or something. But to BEAT HIM to DEATH for throwing a brick thru the window? That wasn't warranted. They probably didn't mean to kill him and just wanted to beat him up and for that I think they should get voluntary manslaughter. That guy didn't deserve to die over a friggin window. If anything he deserved to be locked up and charged. All these men should be charged with Voluntary Manslaughter.

Posted by: Ms511 | November 8, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Ms5ll: Yes, I'm quite serious. I agree with BlackRaiN7 as well. The point you make about "insurance will cover the window" is part of the problem as well. Who do you think picks up the tab on that insurance? Do the magic insurance fairies tell the good business owners on U street that "No worries, your premiums won'tbe going up and we'll pick up the tab for the window and the customers who were hurt gratis." No, Ms511, in the real world of DC, which by the way is a he77 less violent thasn where this guy was from, insurance for a business in DC anywhere but Georgetown is phenomenal. And from what I understand G-town has some nasty rates as well. But let's not even make this about money. Let's say you were working the door at DC9 on that night. You have told someone who is already intoxicated (look up the legal liability of DC9 serving him or having even use the bathroom) or has started a fight outside with someone (again the liablity of having said fight in your establishment) and you have denied him entry. In the midst of this explanation to him he is beligerent and threatens you and the other bouncers. You tell him "No way. You are not coming in." (I believe it was also AFTER last call when he came to the door-they can't let him in-all drinks must be off the bar within a half hour-customers can stay until they are done-but no one else is admitted) He says some BS and stalks off. He then returns and chucks not one but two bricks through the window. As a former waitress, I sure as he77 don't want to serve this dude. If I were the owner, I wouldn't want him in there-he's violent. Not only that but have YOU ever called cops in the middle of the night in DC and they've rushed right over. Do YOU know they didn't try to restrain him and he swung on someone? Maybe tried to bite someone? And let's get real here, Is this the way you would act in another country? Would you then foolishly scream for justice? Please try it and let us know how that works out for you.

Posted by: stopthemadness | November 8, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, destruction of property. Really? He showed complete disregard for anyone getting hit with the brick or the shards of glass and the police should charge him with a cute little misdemeanor. How nice. So he gets probation and then sets the place on fire perhaps and kills people for all we know and THEN whose scraming for justice. I showed this article to my kids, they shook their heads, but you know what? They KNOW that this man was in the wrong. Perhaps the next generation won't be as stupid and act the fool. Congratulations DC9- you've made a dent in people's victim complexes. Time for some simple DMV logic for all of you transplants out there: Don't START nothin', won't BE nothin'. One more little caveat transplants: There is an old saying that cool people in and around DC, black, white,mixed, hispanic, asian ALL know and live by: DON'T BE A VICTIM. This saves one a lot of trouble.

Posted by: stopthemadness | November 8, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Maybe if Chief Lanier had pronounced the suspects guilty before there was any investigation, there wouldn't be such a mess.

Posted by: shadow27 | November 8, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

stop giving us a bull u taking to damn much no matter what you say we wont let go. stop the cover up!!!!!!

Posted by: justice41 | November 8, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't protest the charges being dropped. Protest against the medical examiner to rule on the cause of death. You can't prove guilt if the medical examiner testifies it wasn't due to the beating. Something caused his death.

Posted by: gpl2411 | November 8, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

What's a white liberal got to do to get locked up in this city?!?!?! Two weeks ago I got busted at Georgetown U for operating a meth lab in my dorm room and the cops sent me home to moms on rich liberal Andover Mass, and then last week I stomped an Ethiopian do death at 9th & U and the cops don't even want to talk to me about it.

Posted by: TonLoc1 | November 8, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

If it had been a go-go club, the story would have been different. The club would be shut down forever and everyone involved would be under the jail by now.

Posted by: richyancy | November 9, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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