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Officer who beat Black man with knuckle-plated gloves found not guilty

Judge Kelly explained there’s no evidence that proves Officer Montsion’s actions contributed to Abdirahman Abdi’s death.

Abdirahman Abdi The Canadian Press/Fred Chartrand

A Canadian officer who beat up a Black man with knuckle-plated gloves four years ago was not convicted.

Tracey Owens, the owner of an Ottawa coffee shop, said she’d received complaints that Abdirahman Abdi was harassing her customers and called the cops. The Black man was carried out of the store and was restrained by customers until officers arrived at the scene.

Upon their arrival, they pursued Abdi to his apartment building and assaulted him, ignoring his pleas for help and his family members’ warnings that he struggled with mental health issues. Officer Daniel Montsion punched Abdi with knuckle-plated gloves, while Officer Dave Weir tackled him to the ground, repeatedly beating him with a baton.

Abdi, who hadn’t taken the medication for his mental illness, laid in a pool of blood for 10 minutes before he received medical attention, according to footage of the encounter. He died in the hospital the following day of brain hypoxia. It is said he went into cardiac arrest during the arrest.

Montsion faced manslaughter and assault charges, but in a recent court hearing, he was found not guilty. Despite prosecutors’ beliefs that Officer Daniel Montsion’s punches caused Abdi’s death, Justice Robert Kelly explained that Ottawa’s chief pathologist was unable to determine whether Abdi’s injuries came from the Montsion’s gloves or Weir’s baton. He ruled there was no evidence that proved the cop’s use of force contributed in Abdi’s death.

Abdi’s family is “devastated” by the judge’s decision and are suing Montsion, Weird, the Ottawa Police Services Board and former Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau for $1.5 million.

“Abdirahman Abdi came from a country of civil war,” said Lawrence Greenspoon, the Abdi family’s attorney. “He came to this country seeking freedom and safety. Before July 26, 2016, he had never had a scratch on his body.”

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