The death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed two weeks ago at Howard University Hospital unleashed a chain of events that have shuttered rock club DC 9, caused protests from the Amharic-speaking community on U Street, and lead to a lot of hang-wringing concerning bar security personnel throughout the city. The death of Mohammed, thought by police to be a murder, though the medical examiner’s report has not returned, resulted in the arrest of five employees at DC 9 on charges of aggravated assault.
Today, in front of a fairly full hearing room at the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Admninistration, DC9 owner Joe Englert testified before the board concerning the safety of his club, the policies of the club, the training of the staff and future plans. TBD’s Sommer Mathis and Washington City Paper’s Rend Smith have filed their initial reports from the hearing room, and report high emotions, and testimony that conflicts with the charging documents and public statements from MPD. Chief among the new revelations is that DC9 has parted ways with part-owner Bill Spieler, who resigned, and has let go the other four accused, Darryl Carter, Evan Preller, Arthur Zaloga, and Reginald Phillips. Englert defended his employees, but acknowledged the reality of having to part ways with them while the case was on-going.
The Office of the Attorney General made the argument today that DC 9 was too careless with their security policy, and that their license to serve alcohol served as a danger to the public and ought to be suspended.
At the end of the day, the board agreed with the Office of the Attorney General enough to issue a continued suspension of their license until December 1st, when the Board will hear a status review for DC 9. The ABRA board would like to have a copy of the Medical Examiner’s report, as would, I’m sure, everyone else.