Investigation is closed
By WISDOM MARTIN/myfoxdc
WASHINGTON – Andrew Laurence, family friend of Ali Ahmed Mohammed, says they are all disappointed at the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s decision to not press charges in the death of Mohammed and to close the investigation.
“We also believe that justice still hasn’t been done and we’re going to pursue this until we do get justice,” Laurence said.
On the night of October 15, Mohammed died after an incident outside the DC9 nightclub. Witnesses told police he was beaten to death by club workers who chased him down after he threw two bricks through the club window.
But the medical examiner has ruled there were no significant physical injuries to Mohammed consistent with being beaten. The cause of death was listed as excited delirium associated with heart defects, alcohol intoxication and physical exertion with restraint.
“It’s been a very sad situation to have started out this case with an arrest and homicide, and then to end up all these months later with literally nothing to say for it. It’s very disappointing,” Laurence said.
A spokesperson for D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier released a statement saying, “The initial reports from witnesses indicated that Mr. Mohammed was beaten to death. The police department made arrests based on those initial reports.”
She also said, “The United States Attorney’s office has concluded that a prosecution in this case would be impossible because there is no evidence to suggest that the restraint of Mr. Mohammed was illegal.”
“We thank the community because they have been very sympathetic to our case. They know something is wrong, that somehow this doesn’t make sense that someone would just die like that and no one would be responsible,” said Laurence. “We’re not going to give up on justice. We’re going to continue to follow it up and for people to hold on and still have faith that the justice system will finally come through,” said Laurence.
An independent forensic expert agreed with the findings. FOX 5 tried to contact the club manager for comment, but he did not respond to our calls.
Statement by the Metropolitan Police Department Regarding DC9:
“This case presented a unique set of circumstances whereby the initial reports from witnesses indicated that Mr. Mohammed was beaten to death. The Metropolitan Police Department made arrests based on those initial reports and all of the information that was available at the time. The Medical Examiners office ruled the case a homicide, and indicated that the restraint of Mr. Mohammed was one of the contributing factors in his death. The original accounts by witnesses was not discovered to be mistaken or inaccurate until a more comprehensive review of the medical and forensic evidence was done by detectives and prosecutors. With all of the additional information, the United States Attorney’s office has concluded that a prosecution in this case would be impossible because there is no evidence to suggest that the restraint of Mr. Mohammed was illegal. It is always tragic when a young person’s life ends prematurely. The Metropolitan Police Department would again like to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Ali Ahmed Mohammed.”
News Release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced today that an extensive law enforcement investigation has determined that there is insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges related to the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed, who died October 15, 2010 after an incident outside the DC9 nightclub, located in the 1900 block of Ninth Street NW. The investigation now is closed.
The decision was made following a wide-reaching investigation spanning more than six months and a careful analysis of the evidence by experienced homicide detectives and prosecutors.
Working with detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department, prosecutors interviewed many witnesses and potential witnesses, including employees and customers at nearby clubs and restaurants, as well as bystanders and others who were in the area when the incident took place. They also interviewed medical professionals who encountered or treated Mr. Mohammed, as well as all of the first responders on the scene. They repeatedly visited the scene and analyzed surveillance images taken from various vantage points, both official images and those made by private establishments. They reviewed all physical evidence, documentary evidence, crime scene photographs, and radio transmissions.
The investigative team worked closely with the District of Columbia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In addition, the team retained a nationally renowned forensic pathologist to assist in the investigation.
Early witness accounts suggested that Mr. Mohammed, who was 27, might have been beaten to death. The investigation revealed that those initial reports were inaccurate and unsupported by medical and physical evidence, or by other eyewitness accounts.
The evidence gathered in the investigation reveals that the incident
began when Mr. Mohammed threw two bricks through the window of DC9. An owner and employees from the club chased, seized, and restrained Mr. Mohammed until police arrived. The evidence did not support a finding that the owner and employees beat Mr. Mohammed to death.
On January 6, 2011, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner issued its autopsy report. The manner of death was listed forensically as homicide, which means that others were involved, though not necessarily criminally responsible, in Mr. Mohammed’s death. The autopsy findings confirmed that there were no significant physical injuries to Mr. Mohammed, and certainly none consistent with being beaten. The only injuries observed were consistent with being held on the ground. The cause of death was listed as excited delirium, associated with heart defects, alcohol intoxication and physical exertion with restraint. In light of all the evidence, the medical examiner observed no physical injuries that reasonably could be associated with criminal homicide charges. The independent forensic pathologist agreed with this determination.
Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office met earlier today with Mr. Mohammed’s family to advise them of this decision and again expressed their deepest condolences for the tragic loss of Mr. Mohammed.