Police Killing of Ejaz Choudry

June 22, 2020 rally demanding justice for Ejaz.

Ejaz Ahmed Choudry was shot and killed on Saturday, June 20 by Peel Regional Police in Malton, a neighbourhood in Mississauga, Ontario. On the evening of June 22, about 2,000 people rallied at Goreway and Morning Star in Malton, to condemn the callous killing of Mr. Choudry by Peel Regional Police over the weekend. They came out as one, irrespective of nationality, race, language or religion, against the use of deadly force by police, to demand accountability and justice. Their signs read: "Father Killed by Police," "Father Killed on Fathers' Day," "Justice for Ejaz -- Murdered by Police," and "Defund the Police." Over and over they shouted "No Justice! No Peace!, No Racist Police!"

Choudry was 62 years of age and suffered from schizophrenia and other illnesses. He was in a crisis and required assistance. His family called a health services phone line to have paramedics come help him to take his medicine as they had done previously. Paramedics arrived at the scene but called police claiming they saw Mr. Choudry in possession of a pocket knife. After a period of shouting instructions at Mr. Choudry in English, which he did not understand, the police elected to kick down the door, discharge a stun grenade and shoot Mr. Choudry in one sudden burst of violence.

A Peel Police spokesperson said they "believed" he had weapons and that he was "a danger to himself." He was a frail man, at home, alone and posed no danger to anyone except perhaps himself. For the police to argue that they had a rationale to open fire and kill him shows the depth of the problem Black people and national minorities face in Toronto. Reports indicate that police rejected every attempt by the family to intervene to de-escalate the situation.

Hassan Choudry, the victim's nephew, spoke at the rally on June 22. He reiterated what he had told reporters -- that his uncle was harmless, that he could barely take three or four steps. "You are telling me that a 62-year-old man who can barely breathe to begin with is going to run and attack you!?" He said anyone who has seen the video footage or listened to witness testimony knows that police did not do everything in their power to de-escalate the situation.

"Our political leaders, our chief of police cannot appease us. We are demanding that action be taken now," Hassan said, "We demand a public inquiry into what happened." He added, "We have no faith in an investigation conducted by the SIU [Special Investigations Unit] which has historically failed victims of police violence in this province. We also demand the officer involved in shooting our uncle should immediately be removed from the police... Those who could make the decision to shoot and kill him are not fit to serve [as police]. They should never again carry a badge or walk our streets."

All those who spoke at the rally raised the same demands: that the officers responsible be held to account and that police violence, racism and use of deadly force must end! Speakers also called for a change of direction to end years of cuts in education, health care and other social programs, not more policing and prisons.

The community of Malton consists predominantly of working class national minorities who continuously experience police brutality. In April, Peel Regional Police shot and killed D'Andre Campbell, age 26, who also suffered from schizophrenia. He had called for assistance to be taken to hospital. Instead of assisting someone in distress, police killed him.

Deadly force by police against victims suffering mental health conditions, particularly against Black and Indigenous people is all too common in Canada. Indigenous people make up just 4.8 per cent of the national population but account for 15 per cent of all fatalities at the hands of police. Black people make up 3.4 per cent of the population, but account for 9 per cent of the fatalities due to police violence.

A public funeral was held for Ejaz Ahmed Choudry on June 24.

A GoFundMe site has been set up to contribute financial assistance to the Choudry family here.  

Since the police killing of Ejaz Choudry daily protests are taking place at
Goreway and Morning Star in Malton.

(With files from Frank Chilelli and Lorne Gershuny, CBC, and Mississauga News.)

This article was published in

Volume 50 Number 23 - June 27, 2020

Article Link:
Police Killing of Ejaz Choudry - Steve Rutchinski


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