Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Ranch Roadhouse in south Edmonton on Friday night to demand justice for a 20-year-old man found dead two days after he was kicked out of the bar.
Exactly one week ago, Mohamed Abdi was asked to leave the popular nightspot on Calgary Trail.
Friends have told Global News that Abdi wasn’t wearing a coat. They said a friend was with him at a gas station afterwards but Abdi ended up leaving and was later found dead, his frozen body found lying under a parked vehicle at a nearby car dealership.
“It was just a regular night out with the guys…. We were having a good time,” said Abdi’s friend, Bryan Breda.”Shortly after, he was just leaning against the wall, talking to these girls with my friend… a bouncer just came and said, ‘Your friend’s too intoxicated and needs to go.'”
Breda said Abdi left with two friends, one of whom was also intoxicated. They went to a gas station and he said the least intoxicated person had to leave for a few minutes.
“They came back [and] Mo was gone. My one buddy didn’t know where he went. He just kind of disappeared.”
He said he and other friends searched for Abdi for hours but never found him.
Beginning at about 7 p.m., the 100 or so protesters who gathered outside the bar Friday night chanted slogans like “Justice for Mo” and also raised questions about the death of another man one year ago – whom other media have reported was at the same bar before he died. Some people were wearing T-shirts that said “Justice for Mohamed Abdi,” with Abdi’s picture on the shirts.
“It’s very heartwarming to see a city come together like this,” said Michael Webb. “It’s hard for me to be in the parking lot, let alone go inside.
“We don’t want it here anymore,” he said of the bar, adding he believes they staff should have called Abdi a cab or called police when they kicked him out.
Demonstrators held signs and candles but ended their protest before the bar opened because they said they wanted to avoid conflict with staff and the bar’s customers. After the demonstration, protesters laid their signs and candles down by the bar’s front door.
Shortly after 9 p.m., police said officers responded to a disturbance at the bar but did not elaborate. A Global News crew returned to the scene and saw police talking to protesters but it was not clear what, if anything, had happened.
Police originally investigated Abdi’s death but concluded it was not criminal. The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission is now investigating and the Ranch nightclub said it is cooperating with with the AGLC.
The bar has also said it has launched a review of its own to see if staff could have done more.
“Our employees took many steps to ensure Mo’s safety, including ensuring he left our establishment in the hands of a capable friend,” said Jesse Kupina with the Ranch Roadhouse.
“Even with our efforts, this tragedy still happened. I am sorry.”
Watch below: (From Nov. 21, 2018) The family of Mo Abdi say they want the Ranch Roadhouse shut down. Abdi was kicked out of the south Edmonton bar on Friday night and on Sunday, his frozen body was found in a nearby parking lot. Kendra Slugoski reports.
Those who knew Abdi have told Global News he moved to Edmonton from Kenya when he was six years old. He graduated from Paul Kane High School in St. Albert.
A petition was started shortly after Abdi’s death, calling for the Ranch Roadhouse to be “held accountable” for how it handled Abdi’s removal and raising other questions about the bar’s protocols. As of 10:30 p.m. on Friday night, the online petition had gathered over 25,000 signatures.
Watch below: (From November 2018) The Ranch Roadhouse has offered its condolences to the family and friends of a young man who was found dead after leaving the south Edmonton bar. Albert Delitala has more on the investigation into what happened.
Friends said Abdi’s generous spirit touched everyone he knew. Now they want to pay it back by helping his family. A GoFundMe page has been set up for funeral expenses.
–With files from Global News’ Sarah Kraus and Kendra Slugoski