November 20, 2020 – The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition condemns the Crown’s decision not to appeal the acquittal of Constable Daniel Montsion
OTTAWA – The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition condemns the Crown’s unjust decision not to appeal the acquittal of Constable Daniel Montsion. We are outraged but not surprised. The Crown is a colonial institution with a history of genocide, racism and white supremacy against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in Canada.
We do not believe Montsion’s use of force against Abdirahman Abdi was justified under the law and believe that confidence in the criminal justice system has been undermined by the Crown’s failure to appeal.
The Crown’s cowardly decision not to appeal officially sanctions police violence and white supremacy against Black, Indigenous and People of Colour and people with disabilities in Ottawa.
The State protects its own.
The Crown’s claim that “there is no legal basis upon which to appeal the acquittal” is flawed and incorrect. According to law, the Crown can appeal an acquittal if the trial judge did not meaningfully engage with evidence which would have undermined Montsion’s defence argument.
The following are facts in the decision which Justice Kelly failed to reconcile in his acquittal of Montsion:
- Prior to arriving on the scene, Constable Montsion knew that Abdirahman was a person suffering from a possible mental health illness;
- Abdirahman was on the ground while Montsion repeatedly hit Abdirahman in the head;
- Deputy Chief Federico testified that officers are cautioned not to deliberately strike vulnerable parts of the body, such as the head, neck, throat, or groin;
- Deputy Chief Federico testified that officers should not punch individuals with weapons;
- Abdirahman was unarmed and not violent towards Montsion;
- The reinforced and hard knuckled Oakley gloves were used to hit Abdirahman in the head;
- Justice Kelly refused to decide whether the hardened knuckle gloves worn by Montsion were weapons pursuant to section 2 of the Criminal Code even though Deputy Chief Federico testified that officers are trained not to punch individuals with weapons;
- Montsion made no attempt to resuscitate Abdirahman or meaningfully aid him once he lost consciousness and before the ambulance arrived;
Until there is an honest look in the mirror by those in authority, including the Crown and Justice Kelly, and a recognition that they are upholding a colonial and unjust system, there will forever be a two-tiered application of the law. We have a legal process, not a justice system, in Canada: One for those who uphold it and another one for Black and Indigenous peoples.
The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition stands firmly with the Black and Indigenous peoples in Canada and will never stop fighting for Justice for Abdirahman Abdi.
Justice for Abdirahman Coalition