Canadian police officer acquitted in death of mentally ill black man
A Canadian police officer was found not guilty on Tuesday for charges including manslaughter in the death of a mentally ill black man who was arrested in Ottawa in 2016, Canadian local media reported.
Justice Robert Kelly said Ottawa Police Service Constable Daniel Montsion had been found not guilty of assault and manslaughter charges in relation to the death of Abdirahman Abdi, who was of Somali descent.
During the trial, the prosecution said Abdi had not been taking medication prescribed to him for a mental health issue and acknowledged the arrest was justified, but argued that unnecessary force was used during the arrest, media reported.
The death sparked protests in Canada four years ago, and the ruling follows demonstrations in many Canadian cities in recent months that were inspired by those in the United States against police brutality and racism.
One of Montsion’s lawyers, Michael Edelson, said the police officer was looking forward to getting back to work, though he did not know when that would happen, according to comments broadcast live on CTV after the ruling.
“(Montsion) feels greatly relieved that this ordeal is over and is looking forward to going back into service,” Edelson said.
The 37-year-old Abdi died a day after his arrest when he was hospitalized for suffering a cardiac arrest. Police forcefully arrested Abdi when responding to calls of a disturbance.