After a violent arrest by two Ottawa police officers in 2016, Somali-Canadian Abdirahman Abdi died. A $1.5 million civil lawsuit against the Ottawa Police Services Board, former police chief Charles Bordeleau of Ottawa and the constables involved in his arrest was initiated by his family.
In the civil action on Monday, the board and the family said they had reached a confidential agreement. The details of the agreement will not be publicly released, the board said. The family is “encouraged” by the growth of a mental health response strategy by the board, it said. But the report was criticized by several community members and mental health professionals, saying the police should not be involved in the response at all. While trying to arrest Abdi for allegedly groping people inside a Hintonburg coffee shop, the two constables used excessive force, the family claimed. OPP Chief Peter Sloly says the police are trying to minimize their participation in the response to the mental health crisis. He claims that community organizations “did not have the time, the capacity or the resources” to sit on the board of directors. Sloly also said that officers under the Ontario Police Services Act are obliged to respond to calls.