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With a convoy of news vans parked along 9th Street NW, about 30 supporters of Ali Ahmed Mohammed gathered outside DC9 as night deepened. According to community activist Roger Gordon, it wasn’t a protest, and there was some general confusion as to the message the group was there to convey to reporters. For his part, Gordon wanted to say this: “The bar still needs to close.” He says the Alcoholic Beverage Control board “overstepped” when it allowed DC9 to reopen after the liquor license suspension that came down in connection to Mohammed’s death.

Supporter Kidane Gezny was there to say that he was happy. Since the D.C. Medical Examiner earlier released findings that declared Mohammed’s death outside DC9 on Oct. 15 a homicide, Gezny is convinced the American justice system works. “Justice is coming around,” he said. “The examiner did their job.” As for the other stuff the examiner said, the stuff about Mohammed’s death being caused by things like alcohol and delirium as well as being restrained by DC9 employees following Mohammed breaking a window, Genzy is incredulous: “He was beaten. The alcohol thing didn’t kill him. They chased him and beat him.”

Friend and frequent media representative for Mohammed’s family Andrew Laurence,on the other hand, merely wanted to convey gratitude. “They’re pleased with the result of the medical examiner,” he said of the family. “And look forward to the U.S. Attorney’s office following up. Of course, this doesn’t bring Ali back.”

How prosecutors will follow-up is still an open question. Though the fact that medical examiner ruled Mohammed’s death a homicide might seem to indicate foul play, it’s been argued that the five men who are thought to have restrained Mohammed were merely making a citizen’s arrest.

Photo by Rend Smith