DC Medical Examiner rules Ali Mohammed’s death a homicide


The Chief Medical Examiner of Washington DC has ruled today that the death of Ethiopian immigrant Ali Mohammed on Oct. 15 was a homicide. Pending the Medical Examiner’s decision, a court in DC had released on bail the DC9 Club owner and employees who beat up Ali to death. The court also allowed DC9 to reopen. More from 103.5 FM Radio:

WASHINGTON (WTOP 103.5 FM) — The Washington DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the death of a man outside a city nightclub two months ago a homicide.

Ali Mohammed, 27, died Oct. 15 after he reportedly threw a brick through the window of DC9 in Northwest and was chased by the club’s owner and four employees.

The medical examiner’s office Tuesday said its forensics examination concluded Mohammed’s death was a homicide caused by “excited delirium associated with arrhythmogenic cardiac anomalies, alcohol intoxication and physical exertion with restraint.”

The five DC9 employees initially had been charged with second-degree murder, but those charges were reduced to aggravated assault after the medical examiner’s office said the cause of his death could not be established through a physical autopsy.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office later dropped the assault charges after saying there was “an insufficient basis to sustain” them. It is not known whether prosecutors plan to revisit charges against the five club employees, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office says in a statement officials plan to review the findings of the forensics report.

“The Medical Examiner’s forensics examination has concluded that a variety of factors led to the death of Mr. Mohammed, and we intend to carefully study these conclusions as part of our legal analysis of this tragic incident,” the office’s statement says.

In a statement Tuesday, Mohammed’s family says they are confident the medical examiner’s findings are “a step toward justice for Ali.”

“The Medical Examiner¹s findings, however, also reminds us that Ali suffered a cruel and senseless death,” the family’s statement says. “Ali did not deserve to die for allegedly breaking a window. The family remains heartbroken and cannot have peace until those responsible for Ali¹s death are brought to justice.”

DC9 was allowed to reopen last week after a hearing before the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. The club currently is only open on Fridays and Saturdays.

ABRA spokeswoman Cynthia Simms tells WTOP Tuesday that DC9 will be allowed to remain open for the time being. A follow-up hearing had been scheduled for Jan. 19, at which the board will review the new information, Simms says.

She says the board also will consider whether DC9 has been following new security guidelines agreed to by the club following Mohammed’s death.

WTOP’s Mark Segraves contributed to this report.


18 thoughts on “DC Medical Examiner rules Ali Mohammed’s death a homicide

  1. Truth~ on

    Cause of death:
    “…excited delirium associated with arrhythmogenic cardiac anomalies, alcohol intoxication and physical exertion with restraint.”

    This medical examiners conclusion will vindicate the killers.

    “Excited delirium” associated with alcohol and cardiac anomaly is a diagnosis selected deliberately to excuse and exonerate the plaintiffs from responsibility.

    What they are saying: No other physical findings for his death except Cardiac anomaly and alcohol intoxication. When triggered by anxiety during physical encounter with the plaintiffs, these underlying conditions caused his premature death. They even stated as if the physical encounter was restrained.

    In my view, this exam result freed the “killers” 100%.

  2. minase on

    The medical examiner’s office Tuesday said its forensics examination concluded Mohammed’s death was a homicide caused by “excited delirium associated with arrhythmogenic cardiac anomalies, alcohol intoxication and physical exertion with restraint.”

    I don’t believe this ! It should be a joke.
    1.”arrhythmogenic cardiac anomalies” AKA Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy(ARVC) means Ali already had a fatal cardiac problem which usually causes sudden death and is diagnosed at autopsy.This is very rare condition,very rarely diagnosed in the US and most of the cases are clustered in Northern Italy.

    The way this case is handled and the time it took for the report to come out is worrisome.Considering the long time it took to release the report, I assume that they have done all the tests to prove that Ali indeed had ARVC.
    I will accept this conclusion beyond doubt only if the medical examiner shows the genetic tests(mutations)that shows Ali had mutations on plakoglobin gene and
    desmoplakin gene.The medical examiner should also demonstrate that at least 30% of Ali’s biological close relatives have mutations on plakoglobin and desmoplakin genes.
    2.?”excited delirium” I don’t even know what the medical examiner(who did not talk to the victim and examined him before he died) wanted to say but it is not pathological diagnosis,rather a clinical impression, and should not be mentioned by a medical examiner.
    3.”alcohol intoxication”implies that Ali had heavy alcohol in his system and possibly he was drunk.I assume he was drinking as the way it was reported in the media,it will be interesting to know how much his blood alcohol level was.It is important to note that alcohol intoxication does not cause sudden death by itself but can contribute to sudden death if he indeed had a fetal cardiac problem like ARVC.
    4.”physical exertion with restrain”implies that Ali is not brutally beaten as we assumed rather he was physically restrain by the night club folks and he was physically fighting to get out of the restraint in the process hurting himself.

    If this is the medical examiners report it does not in any way imply homicide and the night club folks will walk free even with out a need for a good lawyer for their defense.
    I have a feeling that the medical examiner is framing the forensic evidence protect the perpetrators of this inhuman crime and that is not uncommon in the US if the defendant happen to have money , power and connections.
    RIP Ali!

  3. The death of Ali is not reversible but it brings closure to the family and the Ethiopian community to know that the people responsible are held responsible and face justice.

  4. Truth,

    Though I didn’t understand the technicalities very well, I have the same feeling as you. It seems that there are many causes for the death and there is no any clear mention of physical injury as a result of attack. The experienced lawyers will use this loop hole very well to prove the innocense of their clients.

  5. Truth~ on

    Why the examiners needed to mention cardiac anomaly and arrhythmia….?

    My guess is that Ali’s death was due to blunt trauma on his chest. He suffered lung and myocardial contusion which ultimately results in his death. Cardiac contusion causes arrhythmia. Ali may have a cardiac anomaly which has nothing to do with arrytmogenicity. Therefore, referring arrhythmia and cardiac anomaly in their findings is then partially correct. But they deliberately omitted the cause of arrhythmia, cardiac contusion.

  6. Ali needs a top noch lawyer if justice has to be serviced. The family has to take number 3’s comment seriously in order to be vindicated !

  7. Dejane on

    JUSTICE FOR ALI, FAMILY, FRIENDS AND ETHIOPIAN COMMUNITY IN D.C IS IN SIGHT. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE EVERY THING FOR GURANTEED, KEEP ON FIGHTING UNTIL THE MURDERERS OF ALI ARE PUNISHED IN THE COURT OF THE LAW. STAND TOGETHER WITH THE FAMILY TO ENSURE COURAGE AND MORAL SUPPORT.

  8. Where is justice? on

    The medical examiner meticulously gave its conclusion the cause of death not stained its reputation and to help set free the criminals. What a mockery of justice! I hope HRW would intervene without prejudice in this matter.

  9. Anonymous on

    I tend to agree with the the second comment written by Truth. The finding of the medical examiner looks like Sem ena Worq type of explanition.

  10. Anonymous on

    excited delirium is a diagnosis of exclusion often refereed by medical examiners. The American Civil Liberties Union label it as diagnosis serving “as a means of white-washing what may be excessive use of force.

    Minase, #3 pointed out delirium is a clinical diagnosis. It is not recognized by American medical association either.

    I am afraid there is obvious cover up by the medical examiners office. In their statement, they stated that “physical exertion with restraint.”

    This phrase is an evidence of a cover up. The medical examiner responsibility is to report only what they found on autopsy. Whether restraint force applied or not, is judgment to pass for the court of law.

    The examiners, not only medically cleared the killers but also are attempting to shield them from legal scrutiny.

  11. Kedus Teshome on

    A very very – sad day for Ethiopians – JUSTICE DENIED FOR – ALI ….The so called medical examiner is a big GANGSTER ….

  12. Anonymous on

    it is a painted report ;with a mixed description of outopsy report (meaning that you physcialy see when you open the body it could be by eye,or undermicroscopy). well arhythmogenic cardiac anomaly meaning a broad term suggesting you have a congenital heart abnormality that makes you susceptatble to have abnormal heart rhythm (there are multiple causes arythmogenic RV cardiomyopathy is one of those the autopsy report didn’t specificaly mentioned which type of abnormality Ali Had ).excited Delirium ,by the way delirium is a behavior than can only be described in a clinical exam not outopsy ,well alcohol intoxication can be found in his blood ,don’t know why they mentioned excited delirium in the report. Well physcical exertion with restrain in my understanding suggest he has some internal organ damage from restrain or physcial exertion ;but I expected him to have multiple internal organ damage /blunt injury /with bleeding in to the brain ,heart ,liver an other visceral organ .
    No doubt the report lack some profesional credibility

  13. # 14,

    ” physcical exertion with restrain in my understanding suggest he has some internal organ damage”

    I beg to disagree with your understanding. Exited delirium by definition is a diagnosis of exclusion. A person who has underlying mental problems or drug intoxication can get into excited delirium when external force is applied to him. The external exertion doesn’t cause bodily damage. However; it causes the overwhelming excitement of the body to the point of its shut down. By definition, the examiners can’t call it exited delirium without external force as precipitating factor.

    They used the term restraint force to imply that the force exerted didn’t cause any damage. In my view, it was not necessary inserting this phrase since the diagnosis is self explanatory.

  14. Anonymous on

    16.
    with due respect to #15
    Excited delirium
    is a medical examiners term ,some time used by ER docs .But not accepted by AMA and ASP/American medical association adn american sociey of psychiatry respectively /. This autopsy diagnosis as you said is dx of exclusion usually mentioned in a case of polic brutality .May be Mohammed case is just one of the few case used in a non police involved aggression . Why??? if some one chased ,bitten savagely while begging for mercy,let alone a force applied by 4 individual a simple injury can manifest internaly.I vividily remember a case in florida involving police bruitality in prison latter was repored as a excited delirium but in the coart hearing one of the medical examiner testified he was strtangulated and died of asphaxation.
    This term is always worries civil right groups as it is non exicitance and fake in the scientific world ,used to excuse excessive force use by low enforcement.
    This loophole will allow criminals to scape justice ,it is sad time for Ali family and all Ethiopian in DC /USA .

  15. #16,

    we are on the same page regarding the diagnosis as a cause of death, excited delirium.

    I hope someone from the medical examiner office will have a change of heart and change the diagnosis in the court room to something else. But I doubt the Florida story to be repeated.

    The conclusion in Ali’s case is meticulously prepared.

    Arrhythmogenic Cardiac Anomaly + excited delirium, both mentioned in the result is a fatal combination. No need of further elaboration to the cause of death Period.

  16. Ethiopian needs no to give up on

    We all need to follow up with this case. We need to show how stong Ethiopian communitys are all over America. We need to form a comitte of 50 people representing each state. We should support the family with legal expenses and advocate. I encourage all Ethiopians to be united it can be you or your kids next time.

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