Mississauga’s mayor has released a statement discussing what she says is the need to “explore reforming community policing” following the fatal shooting of a 62-year-old man in the city Saturday evening.
Bonnie Crombie said “in light of recent events here at home and south of the border,” the Peel Police Services Board will be analyzing the 2021 police budget “through a different lens.”
Crombie said the focus will be on community safety and well-being.
Her comments come after a man died in a police-involved shooting Saturday.
Peel police said they were called to an apartment building in the area of Morningstar and Goreway drives just before 5:10 p.m. for reports of a man in crisis who hadn’t taken his medication.
“Due to information received on the extensive medical history that the man had as well as the man refusing to speak to police any longer, the decision was made to enter the residence to check on his well-being,” Const. Sarah Patten said.
The Special Investigations Unit, which is now investigating the incident, said police first used a Taser and plastic projectiles; when those were reportedly ineffective, they then used lethal rounds.
The man has since been identified by family as Ejaz Choudry. Family members said he suffered from schizophrenia.
A family member told Global News Choudry had a knife when paramedics arrived, leading to police being informed that he had a weapon. In a video of the incident posted to social media, officers could be heard yelling “drop the knife” before shots are fired.
Family members have since strongly criticized the police for the shooting.
“It’s always incredibly sad when a life is lost in our community,” Crombie said.
“As much as we want details now and to bring closure to his family and the community, this is an SIU matter, and we need to respect the process and await the results of their investigation. As such, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”
The mayor said she hopes to see an expeditious investigation and have the findings made public.
Crombie, who is a member of the Peel Police Services Board, said the chief of the service is committed to reviewing the budget in a different light.
“It’s about a change in the mindset of the entire service and about reforming policing to ensure police can best support the communities they serve and work hard to build and maintain trust,” she said.
“Police cannot be the only answer to every issue in our community. Law enforcement is not always the answer, a public health approach should be foremost. … We will be going through the police budget line by line and looking at how policing can be done differently with the goal of community safety and well-being and to ensure incidents like these never happen again.”
— With files from Mark Carcasole