Almost four years to the day after the death of Abdirahman Abdi, an Ontario criminal court is set to hear final arguments surrounding one of Ottawa’s most high-profile cases of police violence.
Solomon Friedman, counsel for the accused, said Monday in a brief hearing at the local Ottawa courthouse that all parties have agreed to reconvene on July 20, 21 and 22 for three days of final oral submissions in the case.
Abdi, a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man, suffered a heart attack and lost vital signs during a violent confrontation with police outside his Hintonburg apartment on July 24, 2016. Abdi was officially pronounced dead in hospital the following day.
The incident, which was caught on camera, sparked outrage and calls for justice against the Ottawa Police Service officers involved in the arrest.
Const. Daniel Montsion, one of the officers who repeatedly struck Abdi during the arrest, has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a deadly weapon.
Final written arguments were already submitted earlier this year, but the novel coronavirus pandemic has delayed the resumption of the case for oral arguments.
The conclusion to Montsion’s trial comes amid renewed conversations surrounding police brutality in Canada.
Numerous recent examples of police violence against Black and Indigenous people across the country have coincided with a surge in support for the Black Lives Matter movement and multiple protests in Ottawa calling on the city to defund the police and institute other reforms to combat systemic racism.