The Reef Hoping to Reopen in Adams Morgan Later this Week After Reaching Compromise with ABRA

2446 18th Street, NW

Last week we noted The Reef had been ordered closed indefinitely after a stabbing involving an employee. Late last week they had an ABRA hearing and a reader tells me that they hope to reopen later this week. WJLA also reports:

But now, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has a tentative deal with owner Brian Harrison, allowing The Reef to reopen. The bar would have to retrain its security personnel in controlling aggressive patrons, preventing alcohol consumption by minors, even preserving a crime scene.

According to the ABRA ruling:

“The Board approved the attached Offer in Compromise, 3-0 (Miller, Alberti, and Silverstein). The License remains Suspended until satisfactory compliance with additional security terms and conditions. Among other things, the Respondent must submit a Security Plan, install a camera security system and professionally train its security personnel. The next hearing is scheduled for August 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm.

Following are the full details of the incident according to the ABRA public case file:

The following investigation was initiated as the result of a telephone call to the ABRA Hotline received by Supervisory Investigator Craig Stewart, at 2:15 am., on Saturday, August 10, 2013, from MPD Sergeant Joseph Perren, who stated that a patron of The Reef had been stabbed. As a result, a MPD PD-251 report (CCN #13112842) (Exhibit #1) Was created and retrieved by Investigator Jones on August 10, 2013, from MPD 3rd District Station, dated August 10, 2013. The PD-251 states the following;

v C-l and C-2 reports that they became involved in a verbal dispute with S-1, who Works as security for The Reef (C-3), because they wanted to go upstairs.

0 S-l followed C-l and C-2 and struck C-2 with a closed fist and then put C-2 into a choke hold, taking him to the ground.

At this time noticed that S-l had a knife and attempted to intervene on behalf of C-2. Once C-l intervened, S-1 stabbed C-1 6 times, causing lacerations to the back of the neck, shoulder, arm, and side.

C-2 also sustained bruising and scratches to his face and arms.

C-l was transported to Medstar by DCFD Ambulance 21.

C-2 went to Washington Hospital Center on the same ambulance.

3D10 Detective Smith was on scene.

Investigator Stewart from ABRA was also notified.

9235 Ofc Lyons responded and processed the scene.

Ofc Mayo, 5334 at CIC was also notified.

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, at approximately 2:18 am., ABRA Investigators `Tones and John Suero
responded to the Hotline call from Supervisory Investigator Craig Stewart, stating that an Assault with a Deadly Weapon! Knife or Cutting Instrument had just taken place inside of The Reef (Exhibit#2). Upon arrival, Investigator Jones interviewed MPD Sergeant Perren, who is assigned to the MPD Clubzone Detail for the Adams Morgan corridor. Sergeant Perren stated at approximately 2: 15 am., while inside of the establishment, two male patrons (C-l, C-2), who are also brothers, were assaulted by a security member of The Reef, after both individuals were denied entry to the third level ofthe building. Sergeant Perren stated While on the second level stairwell landing (Exhibit#3), the two male patrons (C-l, C-2) got into a Verbal dispute with a security member of the establishment (S-l), alter attempting to go up to the third level of the building. Sergeant Perren stated the security member (S-l) Went after (C-2) and initiated a physical confrontation, resulting in both fighting on the second level stairwell landing. Sergeant Perren stated(C-1) came to the aid of his brother (C-2),
when (S-l) stabbed (C-2) about the neck, shoulder, arm lett arm, and left side, with an unknown obj ect. Sergeant Perren Stated it was reported by (C-2), and Witnesses, that (S-l) produced a knife and stabbed (C-l), however the Weapon had not been located. Sergeant Perren stated (C-2) received lacerations and bruises to his face and arms, as a result of the altercation. Sergeant Perren stated (C-l, C-2) were transported to Washington Hospital Center and MedStar, for treatment. Sergeant Perren stated (C-l) was reported to be in critical condition, and could possibly be in need of emergency surgery.

Sergeant Perren stated (S-l) reported that (C-l) was coming down the stairwell from the third level, stumbled and fell on him and both ended up on the floor of the second level stairwell landing. Sergeant Perren stated (S-l) then reported that two to three other individuals started to attack him while he was on the floor, and (S-l) immediately called for help from other security
members. Sergeant Perren stated (S-l) reported that he had no idea how either (C- 1) or (C-2) received stab wounds or lacerations. Sergeant Perren stated (S- l) portrayed himself to be the victim in this incident, however after hearing multiple versions of the events with reference to this altercation from (S-l), The Reef employees, and witnesses, Sgt. Perren determined that (S- l) committed this assault on both individuals. Sergeant Perren could not comment any further on the extent of the victim’s injuries or treatment they received while at Washington Hospital Center, and MedStar.

0n Saturday, August 10, 2013, Investigator Jones interviewed Xenia Stewart, Head of Security for The Reef. Ms. Stewart stated that at approximately 2:00 am., While walking through the main level on the second Íloor, she was alerted by the bartender that a tight was in progress in the stairwell. Ms. Stewart stated that when she reached the stairwell landing, she observed a security person lying on the ground, with a man (C-l) on top of him. Ms. Stewart stated it appeared that other individuals were holding the security person down, and not allowing for him to get to his feet. Ms. Stewart stated she was finally able to get the man (C-l) off of security, and escorted him down the stairwell to the first level and out ofthe establishment (Exhibit #4). Ms. Stewart stated as she was escorting the man (C-l) down the stairwell, she observed that the back of his (C-l) head had been cut open, and he was bleeding profusely on the stairs, and the ñrst level landing leading out of the front door (Exhibits #5, #6). Ms. Stewart stated once she and the man (C-l) reached outside, she notified the MPD Reimbursable Detail stationed in the middle of 18th Street N.W., of the incident and handed the man (C-l) to Ms. Stewart stated another man, who was bleeding from the face, came outside to speak with
MPD ofñcials, as well. Ms. Stewart stated MPD contacted medics, and victims were transported together to the hospital. Ms. Stewart stated she did not observe a knife in the area of the altercation, and had no idea how victim #1 had been cut. Ms. Stewart stated although she does not know how victim #1 had been cut, she did feel that he may have suffered his injuries from glasses that had been collected and left in a bin on the floor of the landing.

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, Investigator Jones began interviewing Toussel Kuhn, Security member for the establishment. At the inception of the interview, Mr. Kuhn began by stating he had been drinking while on duty, and understood that he should not have been. Investigator Jones observed Mr. Kuhn having slurred speech, and his eyes were extremely red and glossy. As the interview began to take place, Supervisory Investigator Stewart advised Investigator Jones to end the interview, due to Mr. Kuhn possibly being more involved in the incident being investigated. Supervisory Investigator Stewart also advised Investigator Jones that he observed the same slurred speech, and glossy eyes, while speaking with Mr. Kuhn.

While at The Reef, Investigator Jones met with Supervisory Investigator Craig Stewart, who had conducted the interviews of MPD Captain Aubrey Mongal, and Brian Harrison, the owner ofthe establishment. Investigator Stewart’s interviews similarly recall what was reported to Investigator Jones, by Sgt. Perren, however Investigator Stewart added that MPD stated witnesses saw a backpack and a knife, which have yet to be recovered. Investigator Stewart also stated The Reef staff appeared to have provided conflicting statements to MPD and ABRA personnel.

Investigator Stewart interviewed the owner, Brian Harrison, and requested to review surveillance footage from the incident. Mr. Harrison stated he was not aware of how to work the system, and directed Investigator Stewart to Mr. Connerlly, Manager of the establishment. Investigator Stewart stated Mr. Connerlly walked him into the office that housed the surveillance system, and observed all the wiring was disconnected from the system and monitor. Investigator Stewart stated Mr. Connerlly searched and found the monitor, which was lying face down on a cabinet shelf, rewired all connections, and powered the surveillance system up. Investigator Stewart stated Mr. Connerlly asked Mr. Harrison if he had turned the system off, in which he replied, “No I didn’t, I didn’t touch it!” Investigator Stewart stated Mr. Harrison advised that The Reef does not have cameras in the stairwell, and was unable to catch the incident. Investigator Stewart stated conversely that there is a camera that is located on the second level (Exhibit #8), and directly faces the second level stairwell landing. Investigator Stewart stated if the surveillance system had been in powered on, and in operation, the
entire altercation would have been captured.

Mr. Harrison stated that on the night of this incidsnt:

c Five security members Were on duty at the establishment.

The establishment has a surveillance camera system, however the equipment had been cut off prior to
the incident.

o No special entertainment or event taking place.

Identiñcations were checked at the front door.

0 The Reef does not have a formal Security Plan, or Settlement Agreement.

Investigator Suero conducted a Regulatory Inspection, and no other ABRA violations were found.

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, at approximately 3 :30 am., Investigators Jones and John Suero visited
Washington Hospital Center and interviewed Dean Harris (C-2), the complainant (Exhibit #9). Mr. Harris
stated that he and his brother, David Hudson (C-l) arrived at The Reef at about 12:30 am., and were on the second floor of the establishment for approximately an hour and a half, when they asked a female employee of The Reef if they could go to the root` deck located on the third floor. Mr. Harris stated as they proceeded towards the stairs, a security staff member he described as a black male, bald, wearing a black shirt and tan or khaki shorts (S-l), would not allow them to go upstairs. Mr. Harris stated there was an exchange of words between the security member and Mr. Hudson, when the security member used a closed list to strike Mr. Hudson, knocking him to the ground. Mr. Harris stated he then Went to brothers aid and the three of them ended up on the Íloor. Mr. Harris states that several security staff members dressed all in black joined in the altercation and then While on the floor he saw the security member stabbing his brother (C-l) repeatedly. Mr. Harris stated he and Mr. Hudson were pushed down the stairs and ended up outside of the establishment. Mr. Harris stated once outside MPD officers saw both he and Mr. Hudson with blood on them and called for an ambulance. Mr. Harris stated Medic 21 transported them to the Washington Hospital Center, Medstar Unit. Mr. Harris stated he
received bruised ribs, possible concussion, neck injury, and a cut on his left side. Mr. Harris stated he believes Mr. Hudson received a puncture wound to the back of his neck, one wound to the arm, one to the left shoulder, and two to the left side. Mr. Harris stated Mr. Hudson’s condition was said to be stable although he was being taken for a CAT Scan while ABRA investigators were on the scene.

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, at approximately 6:00 pm., MPD Chief Cathy Lanier issued a Notice of Closure for The Reef to Mr. Harrison. The notice summarizes the events of the night including the victims, receiving stab wounds to the back of the neck, and lacerations to the head and body. Chief Lanier stated that she is closing The Reef for 96 hours under the authority of D.C. OÍÍicial Code 25-827, in order to ameliorate the danger which the establishment presents to the public.

On Saturday, August 10, 2013, at approximately 7:45 am., Investigator Jones visited The Reef and observed MPD Notice of Closure placards (Exhibits #12, and #13) had been posted, and was to begin at 6:00 pm., on Saturday, August 10, 2013.

On Monday, August 12, 2013, at approximately 9:00 am., a meeting was held at the ABRA’s office between
the ABRA Enforcement Staff, ABRA Adjudication Division, MPD officials, and an attorney from the Office of Attorney General (OAG), to discuss this incident and future administrative actions. During this meeting, MPD Officer Daryl Marine, responding officer for the incident, was interviewed with reference to the ADW that took place inside of The Reef, during the early morning hours of August 10, 2013. Officer Marine stated at approximately 2:10 am., he responded to a call for a stabbing at The Reef, located at 2442-2446 18th Street N.W. Ofñcer Marine stated he spoke to the victims (C-l) (C-2), who stated they were trying to get to the third floor of the establishment, but Were denied entry by a security member (S-l). Officer Marine stated a male patron (C-l) asked Ms. Stewart if they could go up to the third floor, in which she escorted them upstairs. Officer Marine stated after being on the third level for some time, they attempted to go back downto the second level, and were confronted by the security member (S-l). Officer Marine stated the security member (S-l) started a verbal altercation with a male patron (C-l), then punched him with a closed and produced a knife. Officer Marine stated the security member began to stab victim #l (C-l), followed by victim #2 (C-2) jumping on top of the security member to protect his brother. Ofñcer Marine stated a witness, and Mr. Connelly, Manager of the establishment, stated a knife (silver in color) was found on the second floor stairwell landing, but has not been located. Officer Marine stated victim #l (C-l) was cut in the back of the neck, right arm, and right side, for a total of 6 times. Officer Marine stated the security member (S-l) is on Federally on parole until 2019, for two counts of Armed Robbery. Officer Marine stated both victims were transported to Washington Hospital Center/ Medstar for treatment. Officer Marine could not comment on the treatment or severity of each victim’s injuries.

23 Comment

  • ledroittiger

    This summary of events is absolutely mental and the Reef is completely sketchy. Way to stand up for your boy, who you hired as a bouncer despite being on parole for armed robbery… And classy move turning off all of the security camera equipment. Very excited to hear that the Reef will be opening again shortly!!

  • If C1 and C2 play their cards right, they have a VERY nice payout coming.

  • Seconded the description of this sounding absolutely mental and sketchy.

    Wow, wow, wow. Just amazing. I would accept a lot of the coincidences but having the security system turned off is a bit too much. Now, to me, the onus is on the Reef to prove its innocence. Doesn’t seem like they will be able to.

    What bothers me the most is that Adams Morgan is that there is enough crime and violence happening outside the control of these bars in Adams Morgan. We don’t need this crap adding to the environment. They should be held to a much higher standard and people should feel safe visiting them.

  • +1 ledroittiger, plus the following:

    “Ofñcer Marine stated a witness, and Mr. Connelly, Manager of the establishment, stated a knife (silver in color) was found on the second floor stairwell landing, but has not been located. “

  • If the events as described above are accurate this establishment should have it’s license revoked permanently. The biggest issues I see are:

    1) Security system inoperative or worse tampered with
    2) Weapon said to be found then lost
    3) Alleged Assault by one of their employees who was drinking

    Those are all serious matters that should be grounds for immediate and permanent license revocation.

  • Sketch…cover up likely…and now you, Reef, will lose not only patrons but possibly a big lawsuit.

  • Don’t think I’ll be going back any time soon..

  • ledroittiger

    Also – I love how ABRA came to a compromise with the Reef about THE ESTABLISHMENT HAVING TO RETRAIN ITS OWN EMPLOYEES! Doesn’t the police report show enough that management should not be the ones training these people!?!?!?!?!?!?

  • Wow. This is just sad, all around. I used to frequent the Reef, but it’s been 5 years or so since I’ve been on a regular basis, and I was never a late-night patron. Don’t know what’s happened, but I’m guessing that their size plus desirable roofdeck has made for big crowds, and the nightlife in Adams Morgan just gets bigger and rowdier. I always really liked Brian–always made you feel welcome, was a fun guy, and told great stories. I really hope he isn’t involved in what looks like a coverup. But what happened is horrible–and I’m sad to say they should be shut down while the investigation proceeds, they need new security, new management, and to rethink what kind of bar they want to be. Agree with previous posters, it sounds completely sketchy at best.

    • Yeah, I have mixed feelings about this too. I’ve never been to The Reef late at night on the weekend. It’s clearly an entirely different place than it is during the week early in the evening, when it’s all regulars from around the neighborhood. And I always thought Brian was a great guy, along with the rest of their bar staff who worked on the roof. But many things in this report have me pretty concerned about the place.

  • Wow. Crazy, crazy story.

    Even if you look at it from the point of view most favorable to the Reef, you’ve got:
    – Negligence — having a security system but not having it turned on
    – Hiring someone convicted of armed robbery (maybe this is legal, but it doesn’t sound like a Good Idea when hiring a security guard)
    – Security drinking while on duty
    – Loss of evidence

  • There is no valid “security plan” for a business whose security personnel stabs a patron. At that point, your business is far beyond the point of saving. Shut it down or ABRA loses all moral authority in future cases where a liquor license is challenged due to violence on the premises.

  • In addition to what everyone has said about the Reef, what also strikes me is the incompetence of ABRA in handling this situation and putting in their public ruling such unclear nonsense.

  • I just want to know, what HAPPENED to this place? It’s been a few years, but it used a cool place to take your kids for happy hour and a fun, hip place to meet friends for a few drinks and watch the fish. Did management make some change to court the stabbin’ crowd? Did the yuppies drift away on their own and get replaced by the stabby types? It seems like a serious 180 from the Reef I knew.

    • According to some of the comments last week, they got rid of the fish.

    • Emmaleigh504

      I think there’s a big difference between the day time kids happy hour crowd and the late night crowd.

    • ThunderCheese

      The Reef is an entirely different place late on Fridays and Saturdays than any other time they are open. I was at the Reef for Trivia Night the Wednesday before this happened– fun. friendly, tame.

  • Holy hell. What was the Reef management thinking?

  • There is no such thing as parole in the federal system. (I am a federal criminal defense lawyer.)

  • So THE REEF has security which is on FEDERAL PAROLE for ARMED ROBBERY! What a joke!!! I’ve heard a lot of sketchy things about THE REEF and the people they hire. It’s got a lot of criminals I hear and this is proof. The truth is coming to light. Glad the city closed this place and is making them retrain employees. What they need is NEW security persons. I bet C1 and C2 have a substantial payout coming soon since it was NOT their fault what happened. THE SECURITY SYSTEM WAS CONVENIENTLY TURNED OFF….This place needs to be shut down. Way to go that they hire security which has federal charges and who drinks on duty. What a safe establishment that is. Not to mention the reef disposed of and tampered with evidence…THIS IS ALL GROUNDS FOR THEM TO BE SHUTTERED FOR GOOD! A friend of mine was harassed by security there and never even got a chance to get inside…the security people are really shady and she felt violated. I hope this place is CLOSED FOR GOOD

  • There was only ONE security guard there who was cool as hell, funny, and super professional!! His name was Remy, after he left, that place just went to shit!! Me and my girlfriends used to love going there, but we never felt safe there after he left, and we never went back!! It’s a shame that their security could not keep it together, and it’s also a shame that we only felt safe with ONE, security guard, and not all of them!! That place sucks!!!

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