Remembering Abdirahman’s 4th anniversary

Four years after Abdi’s death, group makes another call for police reform

Aedan Helmer

July 24, 2020

Now four years since the violent death of Abdirahman Abdi, a coalition of activists and community supporters gathered at the scene of his fatal arrest to renew a call for police reform.

“The death of Abdirahman really did bring to light a lot of the very troubling ways the legal system and our policing institutions are structured,” said Farhia Ahmed, chair of the Justice for Abdirahman Coalition as about 200 people gathered Friday outside the Hilda Street apartment where Abdi lived.

Hundreds of people gathered to pay respect to Abdirahman Abdi on Hilda Street in Ottawa Friday July 24, 2020. Tony Caldwell / Postmedia

Closing arguments in the manslaughter and assault trial of Const. Daniel Montsion concluded this week and a judge’s decision is expected in October.

Friday’s “standing together” event served as a reminder, Ahmed said, “to stay strong and keep the community united with the pursuit of justice at the forefront.”

While awaiting the judge’s decision in the closely-watched criminal trial, Ahmed said the coalition is launching several distinct calls to action, with an email campaign to local and provincial politicians calling for legislative reforms for officers charged with disciplinary or criminal offences, along with a petition calling for the resignation of Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof for alleged vulgar comments.

The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition also committed Friday to an endowment fund as part of a scholarship for social justice in Abdi’s name.

“We are the nation’s capital and people have been galvanized through a very tragic circumstance,” Ahmed said. “Abdi’s death has caused an awakening, and a call for justice has emerged.

“It’s really getting people to realize we can’t be lazy about our rights, and we can’t be lazy about the legislation that governs our rights and our safety and security.

“This is really what the Abdirahman Abdi case is about — uncovering and dismantling the harmful structures that are in place, and that don’t need to be.

Ahmed made a similar plea directly to the Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly in a presentation to the Police Services Board last month.

“It was a call for a reorganization and a reprioritization of funding so that there is a more compassionate response available to those who need it,” Ahmed said.

Source: Ottawa Sun

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Bridgehead issues apology for how it originally handled death of Abdirahman Abdi

Bridgehead coffee has issued a public statement, apologizing for how it originally handled and responded to the death of Abirahman Abdi. The lengthy apology was posted to the Ottawa company’s Instagram page Thursday in five parts.Jun 21, 2020 1:07 PM By: Dani-Elle Dubé

2018-07-24-Abdi-AB

Abdirahman Abdi. File photo.

Bridgehead coffee has issued a public statement, apologizing for how it originally handled and responded to the death of Abirahman Abdi.

The lengthy apology was posted to the Ottawa company’s Instagram page Thursday in five parts. 

“As our internal conversation around systemic racism and the change that is required to be a positive part of this movement within out own community continue, we recognize we can never fully become an ally without address what took place (four) years ago to Mr. Abdirahman Abdi,” the statement said. “A regular customer of ours who was killed by the police. A man, who (four) years later has still not received justice.”

The statement continued, “We should have been an ally then and we weren’t. We are sorry. When we did speak, we spoke on the impact his death had on our staff and customers, and not on the greater issue of Mr. Abdi’s death. We are truly story.”

In July 2016, 37-year-old Abdi entered a Bridgehead shop at Wellington Street West and Fairmont Avenue. Abdi allegedly assaulted several women inside and outside of the shop before fleeing the area towards his apartment. 

Abdi died during a confrontation with police, who were called to the Hintonburg Bridgehead, following a foot chase.

Ottawa Police Constable Daniel Montsion was charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault ad assault with a weapon in the death of Abdi. 

Montsion pleaded not guilty to all three charges. 

Source: Ottawa Matters

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