D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has closed a downtown nightclub where actor Anwan Glover was stabbed early Sunday, saying security guards stood by as an unruly and aggressive crowd interfered with officers trying to secure the crime scene.
The order took effect at 6 p.m. Monday and will keep Cafe Asia, in the 1700 block of I Street NW, a few blocks from the White House, closed until at least Friday evening.
The District’s liquor board is having a closed meeting Wednesday to discuss whether further sanctions are warranted. Club owners can then appeal any decision at a public hearing that could be scheduled later this week. The club’s attorney,Andrew Kline, said he could not yet answer a reporter’s questions. “We’re still investigating exactly what went on,” he said.
Glover, a Washington native known for his role as gangster Slim Charles on the television series “The Wire,” was attacked in one of two apparently unrelated fights that occurred 20 minutes apart at the club, which is also a restaurant.
The 41-year-old actor — who most recently appeared in the Oscar-winning movie “12 Years a Slave” — was on the second floor of the club when someone punched him, he told D.C. police. He turned, and another person hit him on the back of the head, according to the police report, causing him to slip and fall on the wet floor. Glover told police he was then kicked multiple times. He heard someone shout, “He has a knife” and felt a sharp pain in his right side. No arrests have been made.
In a letter addressed to the director of the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, Lanier said that police had to intervene to keep patrons, including the victim, from leaving the premises, to ensure that the wounded actor received proper treatment and so potential witnesses could give statements to police. Lanier said that security guards stood by instead of helping officers. In addition, the chief said, officers had to be called from across the police district to quell the “aggressive crowd,” straining resources elsewhere.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board investigated Cafe Asia this year after a Dec. 28 brawl outside the club spilled onto several streets. One person was reported stabbed, although police could not determine whether the stabbing occurred inside or outside the club.
Police said fights continued down several streets, including in the 1700 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. A report says more than a dozen gunshots were fired amid the crowd, injuring no one but striking at least four cars and two shops. Police recovered 14 shell casings littering the block. According to a transcript of the board’s hearing in January, the fight occurred about 3 a.m. after an 18-and-older event that attracted rival groups of D.C. youths.
Club owner Chao Charles Zhou told liquor board members that the fights occurred outside and weren’t necessarily linked to his establishment. Board member Mike Silverstein disputed that defense. “But we, as citizens, have to clean up the blood,” he said, according to a transcript. “Or in this case, pull the bullets out from cars and businesses just down the street from the president of the United States.”
The board took no action against Cafe Asia after Zhou promised to admit only patrons 21 or older, retrain security guards and reposition surveillance cameras to capture more of the floor space.