TORONTO, July 26, 2016 /CNW/ - "Police officers who use excessive force contrary to the law should be removed from their duties and charged", urges the Canadian Association of Somali Lawyers ("CASL"), a national organization of Somali-Canadian legal professionals.
According to reports, Mr. Abdirahman Abdi, a mentally disabled Somali-Canadian man, was unarmed and allegedly brutally beaten by several Ottawa police officers following a foot chase from a local coffee shop. While Mr. Abdi lay motionless and bleeding, medical assistance was not provided to him until 15 to 20 minutes after he was placed in handcuffs. Reports also state that Mr. Abdi was already dead within 45 minutes of arriving at the hospital.
"Too often, police officers do not de-escalate or use excessive force when dealing with African-Canadians, let alone African-Canadians with disabilities or in mental distress" says Billeh A. Hamud, President of CASL.
"More importantly, when police officers are subject to an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the courts have acknowledged that such officers are almost always exonerated. In addition, SIU investigation reports are not made available to the public," says Hamud.
CASL calls on the Government of Ontario to amend the Police Services Act to make police oversight bodies, including the SIU, more transparent, objective and accountable during investigations of police violence against citizens.
CASL calls on the Government of Ontario to mandate that body cameras be worn on all police officers in Ontario.
CASL calls on the Government of Ontario to mandate anti-black racism, mental health and de-escalation training to all police officers in Ontario.
CASL stands united with the family of Abdirahman Abdi in the wake of his senseless death.
SOURCE Canadian Association of Somali Lawyers
For further information: Billeh A. Hamud, President, Canadian Association of Somali Lawyers, 647-646-9517