June 24, 2020
After the recent shooting death of Ejaz Choudry, a number of community leaders and politicians in Toronto have expressed concerns over the role of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and its ability to effectively investigate police misconduct ie brutality, excessive force, and sometimes murder.
Ejaz Choudry died during a wellness check, but unfortunately, he was not the only person. Regis Paquet died after allegedly being pushed off her balcony by Toronto police. D’Andre Campbell was shot dead in his home, after calling the police for help. It is important to note, both Ejaz Choudry and D’Andre Campbell were killed by Peel Police Officers within a span of less than 90 days.
In the case of D’Andre Campbell, the police officer that killed him has declined an interview with the SIU and has refused to turn over his notes. His family is publicly demanding the officer be charged with murder.
Politicians that have publicly expressed doubt about the effectiveness of the SIU include politician Gurratan Singh - brother of Jagmeet Singh. NDP Opposition leader Andrea Horwath echoed calls for a public inquiry.
The community in Milton has been engaged in a peaceful rally since June 21, 2020, and have publicly demanded that a public inquiry be done, expressing their own doubts about the effectiveness of the SIU. The community is undeniably devastated, and are pleading for answers and justice.
Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah released a statement on June 22, expressing condolences for the family, and indicated he has been in contact with the Muslim Advisory Committee:
I have been in consultation with our Muslim Advisory Committee, and will be consulting other stakeholders in the community and experts in the field of mental health, to do all that is necessary to support those experiencing mental health distress.
I ask for calm and patience as we sketch our path forward and as the investigations unfold what transpired.Source: Peel Police Press Release
Many Twitter users felt Chief Duraiappah’s statement did not go far enough. Some users demanded a public inquiry, and some - like @BrotherMuhammed - demanded the officers be fired and charged with murder.
Given the SIU‘s history of white-washing crimes by Police Officers, it is unlikely that the SIU will charge any of the offending officers, or order them to be suspended.
However, residents can continue to protest, and call their local politicians to demand changes and a thorough, expedited investigation.
Swanthonyswan is a useful resource Toronto Residents can use to see how they can help influence the motion being presented June 29th to Defund the Police.
Residents can also continue sharing their concerns on social media, while using the @ symbol to tag politicians and community leaders that they wish to be heard by. Using hashtags like #JusticeForEjaz and #DefundThePolice is recommended.
We all have a role to play in making our communities safer. Let’s work together and continue to publicly push for justice in all 3 of these senseless tragedies.
Article by: Mark Slapinski