The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission is investigating a south Edmonton bar after a 20-year-old man was found dead after being asked to leave the venue over the weekend.
The investigation comes as some friends of the man, Mohamed Abdi — also known as Mo, are calling for the business to make major changes to how it operates.
Kennedy Vanderhoek, who said she was a friend of Abdi’s, wrote about the incident in a Facebook post on Monday. She said he was kicked out of the Ranch Roadhouse, located on Calgary Trail near 63 Avenue, without his coat on Friday night.
“My boyfriend… removed himself from the club to go follow Mo as he was intoxicated and was not in the right mindset to be on his own in the cold without anyone else,” she wrote.
She said Abdi was later with a friend at a gas station and “was never left alone.”
“He ended up leaving the gas station and his friends spent the rest of the night and the weekend searching for their beloved friend,” Vanderhoek said.
What happened after that is not known.
Abdi’s frozen body was found underneath a parked vehicle at the Derrick Dodge dealership across the street from the bar, according to family.
The Edmonton Police Service said officers responded to a sudden death call in the area of 103 Street and 63 Avenue on Sunday.
“The death was determined to be non-suspicious in nature,” police said Monday night. “At this time, the EPS will not be investigating this incident further.”
The Ranch Roadhouse issued a statement via email to Global News. It said the man found dead had been at the bar and it was “deeply saddened by this tragic loss.”
“The safety and security of our patrons and employees is our most important responsibility. Our employees took many steps to ensure Mo’s safety, including ensuring he left our establishment in the hands of a capable friend. Even with our efforts, this tragedy still happened. I am sorry.
“We are actively reviewing if there is more we could have done. We want to make sure this never happens again.
“Our condolences go out to Mo’s family and friends.”
An online petition is calling on the City of Edmonton to look into the bar’s protocols — including how it handled Abdi’s removal. As of Tuesday morning, it had been signed more than 16,000 times.
On Tuesday, spokesperson Heather Holmen said the AGLC investigates any incident, report or concern regarding a licensed venue. She said the investigation will look into whether there were any violations of the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, or to regulations associated with the act or AGLC policy.
“Any indications that there’s been an incident or area of concern, we definitely investigate,” she said over the phone Tuesday.
Holmen couldn’t speak to the specifics of this investigation, but said conversations will occur with management, staff and anyone on shift on Friday night. Investigators will also look at any available surveillance video.
There is no timeline for the investigation and Holmen said the AGLC does not release the details of its investigations. If there are findings that a licensee was in violation, they are posted online through a searchable database.
The city said its primary concern is patron safety. City staff will support the AGLC, who is leading the investigation.
“The Public Safety Compliance Team, a group made up of members from the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Police Services, Edmonton Fire Rescue and AGLC, will be meeting with the venue to review its patron management and control plans,” said Chrystal Coleman, a spokesperson for the city’s citizen services, in an email to Global News Tuesday.
The Ranch Roadhouse said it worked closely with police as they investigated what happened.
“The Edmonton Police Service conducted their own investigation and concluded that what occurred was not criminal,” the bar said in a statement Tuesday. “AGLC has launched an investigation into what happened that night and we are fully complying with and supportive of their review.
“We are also completing our own investigation in an effort to learn from this tragedy. As a bar in a winter city and province, we need to take steps to ensure our customers are secure and safe in all kinds of weather. This is a pledge we take seriously.”
A peaceful protest is planned for Friday at 7 p.m. in the bar’s parking lot, according to the petition.
With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News.