Protesters closed the Mississauga intersection after the SIU cleared an officer from Peel on the death of Ejaz Choudry

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TORONTO – Peel Police arrested seven people during a demonstration in Mississauga on Saturday afternoon over the decision of the provincial police watchdog to clear a Peel officer of wrongdoing in the shooting death of a 62-year-old man last summer.

Several people gathered at the intersection of Goreway and Morning Star Drives on Saturday afternoon to show their support for the family of Ejaz Choudry, who was shot dead by Peel Police in his apartment in June 2020.

Wayne Akan, one of the protest organizers, said the community wants justice for the family.

“We are trying to get the names of the officers because, as you can see, the officers are continuously released regardless of the context of the case,” Akan told CP24.

“And we have to find housing for these families. It’s not fair that they are still in the same houses that the police came and literally destroyed, but they are the ones who have to stay behind and pay the damages.

Akan said they will occupy the intersection for as long and as often as possible until their demands are met.

After blocking the intersection, the demonstrators then started marching towards the nearby train tracks in an attempt to occupy them. However, before they could reach their destination, the police blocked the road and started arresting people.

Police said they did not want protesters on the tracks because they were concerned for their safety. They also don’t want the tracks blocked because trains carrying medical supplies use them.

“The police recognize the right of individuals to assemble peacefully,” said the gendarme. Akhil Mooken told CP24 on Saturday night.

“Our goal is to ensure the safety of any gathering, but also to ensure that all rules and regulations are followed. Unfortunately, this incident drifted away from a peaceful rally and six people were arrested. Police later updated the number of protesters arrested to seven.

The protesters then decided to return to the intersection of Goreway and Morning Star Drives where the protest ended on Saturday night.

Police said those arrested were taken to Brampton 21st Division for treatment. Several people then reported to the division and demanded the release of the demonstrators.

The demonstration comes days after the publication of the Special Investigations Unit report on Choudry’s death. SIU Director Joseph Martino wrote in his report that he “is unable to form reasonable grounds to believe that an officer (of the Peel Regional Police) has committed a criminal offense”.

On the night of June 20, 2020, Choudry’s family called 911 after refusing to take his medication. Choudry suffered from paranoia and schizophrenia.

The family then left the apartment and one of the first officers to respond reported that Choudry was still inside and holding a large kitchen knife, the SIU said.

This prompted a broader police response, including tactical officers and a Punjabi speaking officer to act as an interpreter.

Negotiations with Choudry were unsuccessful, the SIU said. He informed a police officer that he had taken his medication and that the police could not help him. He also told an officer that they would need a court order to enter his home.

Ejaz Choudry

Just before 8:30 p.m., three heavily armed tactical officers were positioned on the balcony of Choudry’s apartment. According to video footage obtained by SIU investigators, the officer who ultimately shot Choudry broke down the balcony door.

Inside, the SIU said Choudry “held out the knife at the officers and immediately started moving in their direction.”

The officers then fired a Taser, an ARWEN plastic projectile launcher, and then two shots from a handgun at Choudry.

The SIU said Choudry did not drop his knife after being shot and the blade was then kicked out of his hand by an officer after two more plastic projectiles were fired at him, which Martino called of “disturbing”.

He was pronounced dead at 8:38 p.m.

Martino said that “the real question” arising from the incident was whether the officer in charge of the scene was correct in ordering officers to enter the apartment after 20 minutes without hearing Choudry, or whether this order was “criminally negligent”.

“The police knew that Mr. Choudry was afraid of the police. In addition, it is possible that Mr. Choudry could not understand the police officers because they did not speak Punjabi. On the other hand, the hope was that the element of surprise would prevent Mr. Choudry from taking defensive action and that the use of multiple officers would mean that there would be more ‘less use of force’ options. murderous’ to facilitate safe apprehension should circumstances become unstable. “

Martino said fears over the possibility of Choudry being injured or in medical distress justified the decision to break down the apartment doors and locate him.

The officer who shot Choudry refused to be questioned, nor did he provide his notes to the police watchdog.

The SIU is supposed to inspire public confidence, Akan said, but its recent rulings send the wrong message.

“The clear message you’re sending me is that, hey, if the police have this kind of fatal interaction, they better make sure they kill us because if we survive, that’s the only way justice will be served, ”he said.

Akan said the community now wanted answers from Chief Nishan Duraiappah and called for him to come talk to them.

“Come here, chief. We need this report. We want to see what your logic is. “

Duraiappah released a statement Tuesday after the report was released.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Choudry,” said Duraiappah. “The pain and sorrow felt in the community and within our organization has been deep. We recognize that more needs to be done to support people in crisis, and the police should not be the first responders to handle mental health appeals.

– With files from Chris Herhalt

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