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
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
Goreway and Morning Star in Malton.
This article was published in
Volume 50 Number 23 - June 27, 2020
Police Killing of Ejaz Choudry - Steve Rutchinski