Police brutality isn’t just a problem in the United States, in Canada, police brutality towards minorities, is also a huge problem. However, this instance, and the support for it, truly shows how disgusting people treat police brutality. Members of the Ottawa Police Service and supporters have begun purchasing and wearing rubber bracelets that read, “united we stand” on the outside of the bracelet, and the inside reads, “divided we fall”, with the number 1998. 1998 is the badge number of Const. Daniel Montsion, who was charged with manslaughter in the death of Abdirahman Abdi, a mentally ill man.
The bracelets were commissioned by his fellow officers, and have been sold for $2 a piece, estimations for sales are about 1200 at this time. They’re being sold off a private Facebook page, that is titled as “Support of Cons. Dan Montsion”.
The Ottawa police chief made a statement about the bracelet, saying, “I want to remind you that they are not part of the Ottawa Police Service uniform and should not be worn during working hours.”
While there has been concern from other officers about the bracelet, it has been largely anonymous, implying that they fear retaliation or retribution from other officers if they publicly voice complaints about the bracelet. An anonymous officer spoke to CBC, and stated, “I think it hurts the integrity of the service, it’s taking sides.”
‘It’s going to set us back, in terms of trust and the relationship-building that we’ve been working on over the past year.’ said Ketcia Peters, COMPAC (Ottawa’s Community and Police Action Committee).
Peters continued by saying she understands wanting to show solidarity, but fears that minority communities will be offended by the message that the bracelets are showing, especially while Abdi, a Somali-Canadian’s death is under investigation.
Another member of COMPAC, Aisha Sherazi, stated, “I think it’s in bad taste that police are presenting themselves as judge and jury before a court case is over, they wouldn’t do that for any other member of the public, and they shouldn’t do that for themselves.”
It shows that the police and supporters of the police are willing to believe that the police are always innocent, and refusing to look at facts in the case, defending an officer on trial for killing a man.
Earlier in the month of March, Ontario’s police investigation group, charged Montsion with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and manslaughter. Abdi, who was 37 at the time of his death, lost vital signs during a confrontation outside of his apartment building, with Montsion and another officer, Cont. Dave Weir, on July 24, 2016, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital the next day.
The confrontation with Abdi apparently started when officers began following him after complaints he’d groped a woman at a coffee shop, and harassed others inside. There is no reason a person should have been beaten to death, after possibly groping someone at a coffee shop. The video of the aftermath of the arrest is extremely disturbing, but if you want to see it, can be found here.
Witnesses at the scene stated that one officer used a baton on the man multiple times, and when a second cruised arrived, another officer delivered “several” blows to Adbi’s head. When the ambulance was finally called, by a dispatcher, it was called for a man that had been pepper sprayed and was bleeding from the mouth.
A doctor later stated that Abdi was dead before he reached the hospital, even though he wasn’t declared dead until the following afternoon. Matt Skof, head of the Ottawa Police Association, stated that officers had to contain a “violent incident” and that claims of racism were “inappropriate”.
On Wednesday, Montsion had a court appearance in Ottawa, and they remanded the case until May. He’d been on desk duty while the investigation took place, and is now suspended with pay.
With witnesses, video evidence, and the fact that an unarmed mentally ill man was beaten to death after a groping complaint, it’s hard to see how he was only charged with manslaughter, and why the other officer wasn’t charged at all. It’s very clear to see that pepper spray, a baton, and physical blows to a mentally ill man’s head are brutality, and the fact that anyone is openly supporting this case, is disgusting.
Solidarity with murdering cops is disgusting. Anyone caught wearing one of these bracelets on duty should be suspended, and Montsion needs to be suspended without pay. Showing the public that you suspend officers with pay while being investigated for killing an unarmed man, shows you don’t take the safety of the public seriously.