Dropped charges are criticized

Alemnesh Kidane addresses protesters outside the John A. Wilson Building. The crowd objected to the dropping of charges against five men in the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed.
Alemnesh Kidane addresses protesters outside the John A. Wilson Building. The crowd objected to the dropping of charges against five men in the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed. (Gerald Martineau)
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By Keith L. Alexander
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More than 100 friends and family members of Ali Ahmed Mohammed gathered Monday outside the U.S. attorney's office and then city hall in the District to protest prosecutors' decision to drop charges against five men who had been accused of beating Mohammed outside DC9, a popular nightclub.

Mohammed, 27, of Silver Spring, died at a hospital shortly after the alleged beating Oct. 15. But the District's medical examiner's office did not find injuries consistent with a brutal beating, authorities say.

The men, initially charged with murder, had been scheduled to appear in court Monday for a preliminary hearing on aggravated assault charges, but the charges were dropped Friday.

Mohammed's mother, Sashie Bule, carried a sign that bore her son's picture and the words, "We want justice now."

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."

Protesters chanted, "Where is the justice, America?"

Police say Mohammed had been denied admission to the club and came back after closing and threw bricks through the window. Authorities said five 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.

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.

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.


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