Mississauga mayor calls for ‘reforming community policing’

Bonnie Crombie

Mississauga Mayor  Bonnie Crombie has released a statement  pointing out the need to “explore reforming community policing “following yet another fatal police shooting.

Crombie said “in light of recent events here at home and south of the border,” the Peel Police Services Board will be analyzing the 2021 police budget “through a different lens.”

And she pointed out  that  the focus will be on community safety and well-being.

Her comments came after  62-year-old Ejaz Ahmed Choudry was shot by police on Saturday evening at his home in Mississauga.

Constable Sarah Patten of  the Peel Regional  said  officers  were called to the man’s home at about 5 p.m..

“Due to information received on the extensive medical history that the man had as well as the man refusing to speak to police any longer, the decision was made to enter the residence to check on his well-being,”  she said.

That’s when there was an “interaction” between officers and the man, and police fired at him,  said Constable Patten.

Police said Choudry was pronounced dead shortly after 8:30 p.m.

The Special Investigations Unit  n(SIU), Ontario’s police watchdog, which is now investigating the incident, said police first used a Taser and plastic projectiles; when those were reportedly ineffective, they then used lethal rounds.

Family members who have strongly criticized the police for the shooting, said Choudry suffered from schizophrenia.

A video taken by a bystander on Saturday night, which was posted by Mississauga Imam Ibrahim Hindy on Twitter, shows tactical units entering the second-floor unit through the balcony.

Three officers are seen kicking open the door and yelling into the residence.

A series of gunshots can be heard before all three officers enter the apartment.

Mayor Crombie said she hopes to see an expeditious investigation of the shooting and have the findings made public.

 And she pointed out  that the chief  of the Peel Police Services Board  is committed to  reviewing the budget  through the lens of ” community safety and well-being.”

“It’s about a change in the mindset of the entire service and about reforming policing to ensure police can best support the communities they serve and work hard to build and maintain trust,” she said.

“Police cannot be the only answer to every issue in our community. Law enforcement is not always the answer, a public health approach should be foremost. … We will be going through the police budget line by line and looking at how policing can be done differently with the goal of community safety and well-being and to ensure incidents like these never happen again.”

In a news release issued om Sunday, the Muslim Council of Peel called for an immediate review of the use of force by police, particularly during mental health calls.

The council also wants race-based demographic data on police shootings to be made public.

“A disproportionate number of racialized individuals including Black, Indigenous and Muslim are the victims of police shootings across Canada and right here in Peel Region,” the release said.

The council is also demanding an independent public inquiry in the case of Ejaz.

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