Tuesday, January 3, 2012

ABRA issues Notice of Summary Suspension to MOOD Lounge; nightclub indefinitely closed

A beautiful placard shutting down a local nuisance nightclub
(photo by author)
In an order issued today and signed by ABRA Chairperson Ruthanne Miller, ABRA utilized DC Code 25-826 (2001) to indefinitely close the MOOD Lounge in Shaw at 1318 9th Street, NW. Read the full notice here.

The three page notice provides more detail about the December 30th double stabbing at the MOOD Lounge and the ABRA investigation into the incident. According the the notice, both the victims and perpetrator were inside the MOOD Lounge that evening when an altercation occurred and they were removed from the club by security, where the disagreement continued out front and eventually escalated to the stabbings of what is implied to be a promoter and a performer at the evenings event. 

The notice also brings several allegations against the MOOD Lounge and the owner, specifically relating to the way they handled the incident and the subsequent investigation. The notice states that "when [ABRA] investigators went to the establishment to investigate, the establishment made several attempts to hinder the investigation" and that the owner was repeatedly dishonest in her statements to them. 
Among their findings are that while she claimed none of her staff knew anything of the incident, the chief of security did in fact know and had been involved in removing the patrons. Witnesses claimed that they were removed for fighting, though the club claimed they were removed for smoking indoors. The owner lied to investigators when she told them that security cameras inside and around the club were not working; it was later discovered that they were in fact working properly and that the owner would produce a tape, though it seems she has not yet done so. The findings also state that "when the security chief was asked about copious amounts of blood spilled immediately outside the establishment, he indicated to investigators that it was just 'cranberry juice'". 

It further states that the establishment failed to follow their own security plan by not removing the patrons according to proper procedure, allowing individuals under 21 to be in the club (one of the victims was under 21), and not properly recording from security cameras and having them all properly functioning at that time. Lastly, it states that "the security plan calls for the establishment to make incident reports and call the Metropolitan Police if there is a violation of the law - in this instance the establishment did neither". 

Also given honorable mention in the findings are that there was a "strong odor associated with marijuana coming from inside the establishment" and from both victims and witnesses interviewed, and that there have been 61 police calls related to MOOD Lounge in the past year, 31 of which were related to disorderly conduct. 

MOOD Lounge remains closed indefinitely and has 72 hours to request a hearing on these findings, and one will take place within 48 hours of said request. If such a hearing is requested and held, the Board will render a decision within 24 hours of the conclusion of the hearing. It is worth noting that this level of expediency is a rare exception to the standard operations of the ABRA Board - the community is waiting for a 90 day decision period to elapse related to an early December ABRA hearing regarding noise violations that were documented and filed in the spring of 2011. That one year complaint-to-resolution timeframe also seems to apply to four other pending ABRA violations by the MOOD Lounge, all from 2011.

Read more coverage on the ANC2F blog

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