Black Lives Matter shut down Yonge-Dundas Square to protest death of Ottawa man

Black Lives Matter Toronto protesters block the intersection of Yonge and Dundas on Aug. 15, 2016.
Black Lives Matter Toronto protesters block the intersection of Yonge and Dundas on Aug. 15, 2016. Global News

Black Lives Matter Toronto temporarily shut down the intersection of Yonge and Dundas Monday morning to protest the death of a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man following a police arrest in Ottawa last month.

The activist group blocked off the busy downtown Toronto intersection around 9 a.m. but allowed traffic to resume following a brief media press conference detailing the group’s demands, which included charges to be laid against the officers involved and the public release of a report investigating the death.

EAD MORE: Death of Abdirahman Abdi fuels calls for police training reforms

“Brother Abdirahman Abdi was executed in public by the bare hands of police officers Dave Weir and Daniel Montison,” Black Lives Matter organizer Hashim Yusuf said in a media release.

Abdirahman Abdi, who family members say suffered from mental illness, died in hospital after being taken down by police officers on July 24.

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Police were called to a nearby coffee shop to respond to a report of a man allegedly groping several women when officers intervened.

READ MORE: Muslim group wants to know if racism played role in death of Ottawa man after arrest

A portion of the arrest was filmed on video which sparked outrage among activist groups.

Black Lives Matter have also targeted the Ottawa hospital for allegedly withholding information surrounding Abdi’s death.

“For over 24 hours, they claimed, to his family and the public, that he was alive and in critical condition, even though he was dead 45 minutes before arriving at the hospital. This is unbelievable!” said Black Lives Matter Toronto co-founder Rodney Diverlus.

The group is calling for the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons “to strip the license of the health practitioner(s) who authorized the withholding of information” as well as ending the practice of the hospital to collaborate with police or the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Ontario’s SIU, the independent agency that investigates police incidents resulting in death or serious injury, is looking into the actions of the two male officers.


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