Former Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Bill Starrels was acquitted on Dec. 11 for alleged threats against Beshar Mehiar, owner of Charcoal Town Hookah & Shawarma at 1027 31st St. NW, and his customers, because of late-night noise.
Of the May 24 confrontation, Mehiar, in an affidavit at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, said that Starrels told him: “I’m going to shoot you, your customers, and the Muslims standing outside.” (The statement was later proved to be a fabrication.)
Starrels had been charged with a misdemeanor, one count of “attempted threats to do bodily harm.”
During a bench trial last week in D.C. Superior Court, however, according to WTOP, “Judge John Ramsey Johnson heard argument from the defense that police body worn camera video of the responding officer showed Mehiar fabricated the threat. Defense attorney Joseph Gonzalez argued that when the officer arrived, the restaurant owner made no mention of any threat and was only angry that Starrels was complaining about the noise.”
The judge, after hearing from the Metropolitan Police Department that a noise complaint did not raise to the level of a police report, found Starrels not guilty.
“Although Mr. Starrels never wavered in his belief that he would achieve a full acquittal, the public nature of these false allegations made them particularly painful,” Gonzalez told The Georgetowner. “He is grateful for the steadfast support of his family, friends and the Georgetown community.”
For his part, Starrels told The Georgetowner that he is “pleased that justice prevailed.” He served on the Georgetown ANC from 2000 through 2017 and remains active in the community.