D.C. nightclub set to reopen after man's death

By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 1, 2010; 10:40 PM

A D.C. licensing board voted Wednesday to allow the reopening of DC9, a nightclub ordered closed by police after a man died in an incident involving four employees and a co-owner of the bar.

The popular club, in the 1900 block of Ninth Street NW, was shut down by D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier after the death Oct. 15 of Ali Ahmed Mohammed, who was chased by the five men after he threw at least one brick through the club's front window, officers said. They said Mohammed, 27, of Silver Spring, died during an encounter with the men on the street.

On Wednesday, the seven-member governing board of the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration voted unanimously to allow the club to reopen Dec. 15 under several conditions, said Cynthia Simms, the board's spokeswoman. She said the decision will be reviewed at a hearing Jan. 19.

The five men - including then-co-owner William Spieler, who has disassociated himself from the club - initially were charged with second-degree murder in what Lanier called a "savage" case of "vigilante justice." Authorities later dismissed the charges because the cause and manner of Mohammed's death had not been determined by the D.C. medical examiner's office.

Among other conditions of DC9's reopening, the club will not be allowed to employ Spieler or any of the four other men, Simms said. She said the board's ruling could be reversed or altered at the January hearing if more information about Mohammed's death becomes available.

Police and the medical examiner's office are investigating the incident and Mohammed's medical condition and injuries, authorities said. They said they would not be legally barred from refiling criminal charges in the case if new information warrants such a move.

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