Montsion faces charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, and assault with a weapon over the July 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi, a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man. Abdi died after he was violently subdued by police officers outside his apartment building. Eye witnesses described officers pepper-spraying Abdi, striking him with their batons, and punching him repeatedly in the head. Abdi was declared dead at the hospital the following day, although family members say he died before even arriving at the hospital.
The bracelets read “United we stand” on the outside and include Montsion’s badge number, 1998.
#Ottawa police don wristbands in support of officer charged with manslaughter, via @onthebeat1:… https://t.co/sQQdeL7f5m
— Elyse Skura (@eskura)
In a message to all officers, Ottawa’s police chief Charles Bordeleau said Tuesday that while he understands the sentiment behind the bracelets, they are not to be worn on duty.
“We must take into account the community perceptions of actions like these wristbands,” Bordeleau said in his message, a copy of which was obtained by BuzzFeed Canada. “There has already been a great deal of negative commentary and we should all be concerned about the long term impact on public trust this could create.”
‘Take a step back’: Wristbands supporting charged officer shouldn’t be worn on duty, leaders say – Ottawa – CBC News – Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, said he received numerous calls, emails and messages on social media from residents concerned about the wristbands.
“This is not the way we want to police our city or our community,” said El-Chantiry. Any clothing, any messaging to divide our community we should stay away from.”
In a statement issued Wednesday, El-Chantiry urged officers to take a step back and “reflect on the bigger picture.”
“This is a difficult time for the community and the police service. The board understands the police membership wanting to show support for one another,” El-Chantiry’s statement reads.
“However the wristbands, even if well-meaning, have unintended consequences and are divisive. We need to take a step back and reflect on the bigger picture in this case. As a community, we need to move away from an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality and remind ourselves of one of Sir Robert Peel’s most important principles of law enforcement, ‘The police are the public and the public are the police.’