By Maureen McEwan
In late October, Ottawa Police Services Const. Daniel Montsion was found not guilty in relation to Abdirahman Abdi’s death in 2016.
Abdi, a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian, was killed during an altercation with Ottawa Police Service officers on July 24, 2016, outside of his home at 55 Hilda St. in Hintonburg.
Montsion was facing manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon charges in connection to the death. He was acquitted of all three on Oct. 20.
After the verdict was read, the community response was immediate. The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition (“the Coalition”) held a protest at Confederation Park later that day.
Another protest followed on Oct. 24 at McNabb Park and the Coalition issued five demands to the City of Ottawa (via Instagram):
- Freeze police budget now
- Reallocate funds to Indigenous and Black communities
- Fire violent and racist police
- Demand municipal control of police
- Non-police mental health intervention
The Coalition then organized a community assembly and press conference outside of City Hall for Oct. 28. Ottawa city councillors were set to discuss the “creation of non-police led response to calls which do not involve weapons or violence, such as those involving individuals experiencing mental health crises or drug addiction and where a police response is not necessary,” the meeting agenda stated. At the time of his death, Abdi was known to have mental health issues, according to the Coalition.
Ottawa Police Service issued a statement on Oct. 20. The organization will be conducting an “incident, service, and policy review,” and the results will be made public. The Ottawa Police Service stated that it would continue “to address a range of systemic issues.”
For more details on the five demands, visit Justice for Abdirahman’s social media channels and website.
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