PSAC Executive Vice-President for the National Capital Region, Alex Silas, and the PSAC-NCR Racially Visible Action Committee released the following statement in response to Ottawa Police Service Constable Daniel Montsion being found not guilty of manslaughter in the death of Abdirahman Abdi:
“Four years ago, when Mr. Abdi needed support to help with his mental health challenges, he was instead met with violence – ultimately resulting in his death at the hands of a police officer.
We share the profound grief and pain that so many in the Black, Somali, and East African community are experiencing after the verdict was delivered. Our hearts go out to those still grieving his loss.
Abdirahman Abdi’s life was cut short because of systemic racism and chronic gaps in mental health support. These broken systems continue to oppress Black, Indigenous, and racialized people across the country.
The lack of accountability and action from City Hall is shameful. The reluctance to implement much needed reform, along with this verdict, shows that our city is ill-equipped to meaningfully address systemic racism and oppression and defend the lives of Black, Indigenous and racialized members of the community. BIPOC communities have been proposing solutions for years. We must amplify and empower voices from the community in order to move forward.
The PSAC-NCR Racially Visible Action Committee is disheartened that once again, we are reminded of the need to continue our fight in calling for changes not only within our communities but within our legal system as well.
We need urgent and meaningful investment in mental health supports for our communities. But it must also be followed by reform that would ensure those experiencing mental health distress are met with first responders who are equipped and trained to do the work of de-escalating and providing urgent care.
It is the only way to keep our communities safe, to protect the lives of Black, Indigenous and racialized people, and to achieve lasting justice.”