TORONTO, Aug. 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLMTO) activists held a press conference at Yonge and Dundas Square demanding justice for Abdirahman Abdi. The 37-year old was a Black, Somali community member who was fatally beaten by Ottawa police officers Dave Weir and Daniel Montison in front of his home on July 24. Black activists from across the GTA shut down the Yonge and Dundas intersection, erected a banner and released a set of demands at the press conference.
"Brother Abdirahman Abdi was executed in public by the bare hands of police officers Dave Weir and Daniel Montison," said Hashim Yusuf, a Black Lives Matter – Toronto organiser. "This gross power abuse is absolutely outrageous. We must hold the police accountable for the killing of Abdirahman."
The demands targeted the Ottawa Police, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and the Ottawa Hospital. The Ottawa hospital was included because of the purportedly false information that had been delivered to the public and the family about his case.
"The particularities of this case are troubling. Hospital officials neglected their duties and corroborated with the SIU and police. For over 24 hours, they claimed, to his family and the public, that he was alive and in critical condition, even though he was dead 45 minutes before arriving at the hospital. This is unbelievable!" said Rodney Diverlus, co-founder of Black Lives Matter – Toronto. "We must hold the hospital accountable along with all the other bodies that failed Abdirahman Abdi. Because let's be honest, does anyone have any expectation that the SIU will deliver justice, here?"
In conjunction with a diverse coalition of Somali community leaders and organisers, Black Lives Matter Toronto have released the following demands:
- Charges to be laid against Ottawa police officers David Weir and Daniel Montison.
- The public release of the full Special Investigations Unit report into the killing of Abdirahman Abdi
- The collection, and release of any and all race-based data by the Special Investigations Unit.
- The Attorney General Yasir Naqvi to mandate implementation of the recommendations of the
Iacobucci Report on Police Encounters with People in Crisis across the province.
- Attorney General Yasir Naqvi to undertake a similar expanded investigation into police encounters with people living with disabilities, including autism and other cognitive disabilities.
- An Investigation, by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, led by Minister Eric Hoskins, into the extent to which the Ottawa Hospital and Ottawa paramedics colluded with Ottawa police to withhold information from the family of Abdirahman Abdi and to mislead the public about his death.
- The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons to strip the license of the health practitioner(s) who authorized the withholding of information regarding Abdirahman Abdi.
- The Ottawa Hospital to confirm that they will end any practices in which there is collaboration with police or the Special Investigations Unit to withhold information from the families/next of kin and the public
- Counselling and support services (both formal and community-developed)
for family and community members who witnessed and were impacted by the killing of Abdirahman Abdi.
Black Lives Matter – Toronto is the Toronto chapter of #BlackLivesMatter, an international organization and movement fighting police and State violence and anti-black racism.
SOURCE Black Lives Matter - Toronto
For further information: For inquiries, contact: Sandy Hudson at media@blacklivesmatterTO.ca or 416-722-8842; Rodney Diverlus at media@blacklivesmatterTO.ca or 647-456-8476; #JusticeForAbdirahmanAbdi