Ottawa Police Allegedly Tortured Somali Man To Death

"He was unconscious and he was sitting in a pool of blood…I came out here and he was lying on his front and there were just like five of six police officers on him.”


On Tuesday, a disturbing, graphic YouTube video has been uploaded which shows Abdirahman Abdi, 37, in the moments after the police attacked him on Monday.

While investigations are underway and questions regarding Abdi's unjust treatment remain unanswered, the victim's family has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise $20,000 needed to cover his funeral expenses. 

The murder by police of the Somali-Canadian living in Ottawa, has led the Canadian public to question the lack of transparency with which these investigations are handled. 

When Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, a civilian police watchdog organization, probes into matters in which police have caused injury or death, they typically keep the reports private. According to the Ottawa Citizen, the SIU rarely, if ever, releases information regarding these incidents, including cell phone footage and the names of officers involved and civilian witnesses.

However, if the public demand is great enough, there is a possibility that at least a censored version of the report will be made public. 

For example, back in April, the Ministry of the Attorney General released a partial report on the SIU's investigation of Andrew Loku's death. Loku was killed at gunpoint by a policeman in his Toronto apartment building, but the officer who killed him was cleared of any wrongdoing.

A 37-year-old man Somali man in Ottawa, Canada, has been found dead following a confrontation with the city’s police officers.

Abdirahman Abdi was rushed to the Ottawa Hospital trauma center, where he was pronounced dead. He reportedly stopped breathing 45 minutes before he reached the hospital.

Nimao Ali, the family’s spokesperson, reports a discussion with the doctors suggested that Abdi’s death could have been the result of lack of oxygen supply to the brain.

Ottawa police received reports of disturbance from a nearby coffee shop, where they soon arrived. A foot chase kicked off from there and wound up at Abdi’s apartment on Hilda Street in Hintonburg. It was there that the officers pepper sprayed him, took him down and used batons until he ended up in a pool of blood. Needless to say, onlookers in the neighborhood were horrified of what they were seeing, but none of them stepped forward to help Abdi.

However, now after his death, people from the community are expressing their anger over how the man was treated. They are also questioning how the police deal with those who are mentally ill, and questioning whether the way he was arrested and tortured could be a result of his racial background.

Zainab Abdallah, who was watching the encounter between the police and Abdi all along, said that although she tried to intervene and explain to the officers that the young man was mentally ill, they continued to torture him.

A video retrieved from the scene shows Abdi lying on the pavement face down and handcuffed for a good 10 minutes before medical help arrived.

But in contrast to that, Police Chief Charles Bordeleau claims that the officers at the scene called paramedics only a few seconds after the man fell to the ground, and administered CPR on him in the meantime.

An eyewitness, however, says police only administered CPR on Abdi when the paramedics told them to do so, which was many minutes after he had collapsed.

Abdi’s family and friends claim that he was a gentle man and a “beautiful soul.”

For now his loved ones are waiting for the body to be released in order to perform his last rites.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters

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