OTTAWA – An Ottawa police constable is facing criminal charges in the death of a Somali-Canadian man during a confrontation last summer with police.
Lawrence Greenspon, the lawyer for Abdirahman Abdi‘s family, says Const. Daniel Montsion is to be charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the death of Abdi in July 2016.
Monstion is set to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa on Mar. 29.
WATCH: Questions about police use of force follow death of Abdirahman Abdi
Montsion was one of two officers involved in an altercation in Ottawa with Abdi, a 37-year-old man who lost vital signs during the confrontation before being pronounced dead in hospital the following afternoon.
Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) – an oversight body that investigates deaths, serious injuries and sexual assaults involving police in the province – was expected to lay the charges later today.
The confrontation with Abdi took place early on Sunday, July 24 shortly after police were called to a coffee shop in response to reports of a man causing a disturbance.
Police caught up to Abdi a few blocks away outside his apartment building, where cellphone videos showed the man lying on his stomach, handcuffed, while two constables held him down.
Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau declined to comment on the details of the SIU investigations, and urged respect for the judicial process.
“What I can say is that the officer involved, like any member of the community going through a similar process, deserves to be treated fairly,” Bordeleau said in a statement.
“Mr. Abdi’s death has also been difficult for the membership of our police service,” he added.
— With files from Rahul Kalvapalle