On the ground in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

DC9 doesn't re-open after all

December 15, 2010 - 10:15 PM
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DC9
DC9: Not open yet. (Photo: Samuel Corum)

Despite announcing on its website that it would re-open tonight, the DC9 nightclub remained dark Wednesday evening. No lights were turned on, no employees showed up for work, and a plastic sheet remained hanging on the inside of the front door, blocking any view of the club's interior.

By 9:45 p.m., the notice that the club would be opening tonight had disappeared from dcnine.com. In its place is a promotion for a Liberation Dance Party event scheduled for Friday, Dec. 17.

Protesters had been expected outside DC9 tonight as well, but none appeared. A handful of the bar's regulars showed up shortly after 9 p.m., only to discover they couldn't get inside.

"Maybe if they thought there was going to be an issue tonight ... it sucks, but I'm not upset that they're not open. I'll come back," says D.C. resident Erin Malloy, one of those who tried to go to DC9 tonight.

DC9 has been closed since Oct. 15, following the death of a man that occurred shortly after an altercation with five employees of the nightclub. The five men were initially arrested for second-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Ali Ahmed Mohammed, but the charges were reduced to assault and later dropped altogether, though prosecutors indicated they could be re-filed at a later date.

Representatives for the club did not immediately respond to requests for comment. TBD did receive a mysterious text message from a cell phone number known to belong to co-owner Joe Englert: "We are ice skating," the message read. When asked to verify their identity, whoever sent the message did not respond.

A small army of local news reporters were camped outside the nightclub most of the evening, and at least three D.C. police officers could be seen posted at the corner of 9th and U streets NW at various points. But for such an anticipated opening, the street was remarkably quiet. Fewer than a dozen DC9 patrons had stopped by by about 10 p.m., and no organized group of protesters appeared. Almost 200 people, largely members of the city's Ethiopian community, participated in a protest and march against the bar last month.

Sarah Godfrey contributed to this report.

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