A month after 62-year-old Mississauga resident Ejaz Choudry was fatally shot by Peel Regional Police officers, his family and dozens of community members — including the families of others impacted by the actions of other police officers — held a march to reiterate their calls for accountability and change.
“This is a small fight for the public in general, but it’s a big fight for the family,” Hassan Choudhary, Choudry’s nephew, told Global News Monday evening.
“It’s amazing to see what my uncle’s death has brought out in the community itself. We have a bunch of young people advocating for injustice everywhere.”
It was on June 20 when officers were called to Choudry’s home near Goreway and Morning Star drives in Mississauga after his family said he had a schizophrenic episode and had threatened to hurt himself.
A police spokesperson said Choudry reportedly was not taking his medication.
Police also said officers believed the man had access to weapons and entered the home after he stopped communicating, leading to an “interaction” where police fired a stun gun, plastic bullets and a gun.
Family members said they asked police to allow them to try to calm their uncle down but were told by officers to be patient. The family also said that officers were shouting at Choudry in English, which he didn’t understand.
Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), invoked its mandate and is looking into the conduct of the responding officers. By law, police can’t comment on the specifics of an incident after the SIU invokes its mandate. However, family members have called for an independent public inquiry to investigate Choudry’s death.
Ryan Wright, the cousin of D’Andre Campbell, attended Monday evening’s march to show his support. Campbell, a 26-year-old Brampton man, was fatally shot by Peel Regional Police after his family said he was experiencing a mental health crisis and called 911.
“It has to stop. It has to change. That’s it, it’s very simple. It’s not complicated,” he said.
“The only pandemic I’ve seen is the brutality of the police force. That’s it. I don’t see nothing else. This is the pandemic we have to fix.”
The SIU is still investigating Campbell’s death.
Meanwhile, Chantelle Krupka was shot by a former Peel Regional Police officer on Mother’s Day in Mississauga after police were called for a “domestic” matter. The SIU reported there was an “interaction” and the former officer shot Krupka, resulting in her being taken to hospital.
“This hurts and it’s not fair that they hurt us like this, it’s just not, so I’m going to take all of this pain and this anger and I’m going to turn it into a fight for justice,” she told Global News.
“Right now we aren’t seeing race, religion, anything, you know. We aren’t seeing any of that. We’re just seeing each others hurt and it’s uniting us and it’s making us stronger.”
According to Peel Regional Police, Valerie Briffa — a probationary constable — resigned from the service in June. The SIU announced Briffa was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and careless use of a firearm. The charges haven’t been proven in court.