Relatives of a 62-year-old man who died after a police shooting near Toronto on Saturday say they want a public inquiry into the death, feeling there was an overuse of force.
Hasim Choudry, the man’s nephew, said his uncle was suffering from a schizophrenic episode and had threatened to hurt himself before the shooting.
“We don’t want an investigation with the police and the (Special Investigations Unit),” said a visibly emotional Choudry on Sunday.
“We want a public inquiry with politicians involved to help bring this to justice, this is cruel and injustice to the limit.”
Peel Regional Police said the incident started at 5 p.m. on Saturday, when officers were called to the man’s home because he was in crisis due to a medical condition and was reportedly not taking his medication.
Police said officers believed the man had access to weapons and entered the home after he stopped communicating, leading to an “interaction” where police fired a stun gun, plastic bullets and a gun.
The Special Investigations Unit has launched an investigation and have identified a subject officer and nine witness officers.
The Muslim Council of Peel, which spoke alongside the family at a Sunday news conference, identified the deceased as Ejaz Choudry.
Family members said they asked police to allow them to try to calm their uncle down, but were told by officers to be patient.
The family also said that officers were shouting at Ejaz in English, which he didn’t understand.
“Anyone in distress knows that … when anyone you know that really cares about you comes and tells you ‘hey its going to be OK,’ it makes a difference,” said Hassan Choudry, another one of Ejaz’s nephews.
“None of us were able to go up there and say, ‘uncle, you’re going to be OK.’”
Family members say officers were shouting to Ejaz from the front door when they saw more officers break into the apartment from the back at around 8:30 p.m. They say they heard multiple shots ring out shortly after.
Ibrahim Hindy, president of the Muslim Council of Peel, spoke at the news conference and said police didn’t do enough to de-escalate the situation.
“It’s clear from everything that the family has already shared, from the eyewitness reports, from the video evidence that we have, that the senseless acts of Peel police yesterday was wildly excessive,” said Hindy.
“It’s Father’s Day and he’s been robbed from being with his children.”
Hindy said he had no faith in an investigation by the SIU and called on political leaders to get involved.
The incident comes a month after the high-profile police-involved death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman who fell from her balcony and died after Toronto police responded to a mental health call in May.
The death prompted thousands of people to protest against racism and use of force by police in Toronto and across Canada.
The SIU continues to investigate both incidents, and says a post-mortem will be conducted on the body of Ejaz on Monday.
Nine investigators have been assigned to Saturday’s incident, and the SIU says a police-issued firearm, a stun gun, an anti-riot gun and a knife have been recovered at the scene.
Elsewhere in Canada, the police watchdog in Quebec is investigating after a 51-year-old man died during a police intervention in Montreal on Saturday.
Investigators say officers used pepper spray to subdue the man and handcuffed him after a chase, but noticed after that he’d lost consciousness and didn’t have a pulse.
And in nearby Oakville, Ont., an officer was suspended this weekend in relation to an online video that appears to show a policeman pushing a man to the ground.
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