As the sides tussle over whether DC9 should have its liquor license revoked, an ABRA hearing presents a close look at circumstances leading up to the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed. In a meeting room packed with onlookers, Joseph Englert, a co-owner of DC9, choked back tears today as he told the ABC Board how exemplary his establishment and employees have always been: “It’s a very open, nurturing place where people are put at ease as soon as they walk through the door.”
Englert also said what he believed happened the night Mohammed died. Namely, that, as opposed to what the police have claimed, the four employees and co-owner who chased down Mohammed on October 15—after the 27 year-old threw a brick through the club’s window—didn’t then beat him. “What they told me was they were holding Mr. Ali for the police,” he said of the men.
The group has been charged with aggravated assault. Englert told the board the five, Bill Spieler and employees Darryl Carter, Reginald Phillips, Evan Preller, and Arthur Zaloga,aren’t working for DC9 anymore. Spieler resigned; the rest have been fired. The employees weren’t let go because Englert believes they’re guilty, though. He seemed sure that a 911 call placed by one of Mohammed’s pursuers, among other pieces of evidence, would later exonerate the accused.
Another interesting moment? The defense played a radio call placed by the EMTs who picked up Mohammed the night he died. In a call to Howard University hospital, the emergency workers describe Mohammed as being a victim of cardiac arrest, not bludgeoning. They explain that Mohammed has had a “cardiac arrest after a fight.” They also recount that he went unconscious in the presence of police, contradicting the police version of events—which claims Mohammed was dead or very close to it when the first officer arrived on the scene. Throwing the wrench into the credibility of the EMTs, though, is the fact that they refer to the young Mohammed as a “45-year-old.”
The hearing will resume shortly.