FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2020
The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition and its partners are calling for the immediate resignation and termination of Matt Skof, President of the Ottawa Police Association for his alleged misogynistic comments to a female member of the Coalition
The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition (Coalition) is calling for the immediate resignation and termination of Matt Skof, an Ottawa Police Service officer and President of the Ottawa Police Association. In a recently released audio recording, Mr. Skof allegedly called a female member of our Coalition a “f***ing c***” in relation to her interaction with the Ottawa Police Service members in the immediate aftermath of Abdirahman Abdi’s death (Summer 2016). While it is yet to be confirmed that the audio is the unedited voice of Mr. Skoff, we have yet to hear otherwise despite calls for comment. It is absolutely appalling that a police union leader, who represents all police officers in our city directed such a despicably misogynistic epithet at a member of our Coalition, who was not only grieving the violent death of Abdirahman Abdi, but calling for justice in his name. This comment is part of a long tradition in Canada of dehumanizing Black women and demeaning their public contributions.
Mr. Skoff, as head of the OPA, represents all members of the Ottawa Police Service. In January 2019, Skoff was suspended after he was criminally charged by the Ontario Provincial Police for breach of trust and obstruction of justice, During his suspension, Skof remained as OPA president, with the confidence of his board of directors. Despite these criminal charges, Mr. Skof has been democratically re-elected by large majorities of our city’s police officers. With this kind of overwhelming support, we can only conclude that Mr. Skof’s comments are representative of the ongoing corruption and culture of racism and misogyny that plagues the Ottawa Police Service (OPS).
In the United States, contemptuous and offensive statements from police union leadership in Minneapolis, New York, and other jurisdictions have received wide coverage nationally and across the globe. Mr.Skof’s disgraceful words highlight that police union leadership present an equally troubling obstacle for victims of police brutality and overreach here at home.
This recent example follows a pattern of Mr. Skof’s disparaging comments about racialized political leaders and police officers in our city. Since the creation of our Coalition, we have been receiving an influx of communications from concerned members of the OPS, some resulting in human rights complaints. This demonstrates Mr. Skoff’s troubling pattern of dehumanizing statements of which this newly released recording is only the most recent example. We are even more deeply concerned given the history of sexual violence within the OPS, including recent allegations of a female member being raped by one of her colleagues.
It is absolutely horrifying that the most senior representative of the OPS can be allowed to make comments like this and remain in authority. As such we are demanding the immediate resignation or termination of Matt Skoff as an Ottawa Police Officer and President of the Ottawa Police Association. Anything short of this constitutes an acceptance and willingness on the part of the OPS and OPA of institutionalized misogyny and racism.
This issue is only one of many troubling problems the Coalition and its partners are fighting against. We urge all Ottawans to join us for a peaceful protest gathering outside Ottawa Police Service headquarters at 474 Elgin St. at 3 PM on Saturday, June 20, 2020 to demand an end to the culture of institutionalized racism in our city.
JOINTLY SIGNED BY
- The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition
- 613/819 Black Hub
- United Nations Person’s of African Decent (UNPAD) Push Coalition
- National Council of Canadian Muslims
- J’Nikira Dinqinesh Education Centre
- Muslim Family Services of Ottawa
- Chelby Marie Daigle, Author of the Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Ottawa Report
- Ottawa Coalition To End Violence Against Women
- Somerset West Community Health Centre
- Ottawa Muslim Association
- Britannia Woods Community House
- Black Agenda Noir
- Somali Centre for Family Services
- Centre for Resilience and Social Development
- Jo and team, Little Jo Berry’s
- Ottawa Women’s March
- City for All Women Initiative
- Horizon Ottawa
- Courage Ottawa
- The Coalition Against More Surveillance
Rev. Cheryle R.C. Hanna