Human Rights 1195 Views

Abdirahman Abdi: Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau Deserved No Apology for Tweets

Abdirahman Abdi, a 37 years old Somali-Canadian, died on the 24th day of July 2016 after an incident with the Ottawa Police Service.  Reports and preliminary investigations revealed that Adbi was beaten up by the cops in broad daylight in the neighborhood of Hintonburg. The violent arrest was captured on video. His death ignited vigils and protests across the country.

An investigation into the incident was conducted by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) as stipulated by the Police Services Act. 36 years old constable Daniel Montsion was indicted with aggravated assault, manslaughter, and assault with a weapon in the death of Abdirahman Abdi. He has been suspended with pay with the trial scheduled to commence in February 2019.

On Wednesday, a tweet emerged from Ottawa-Vanier MPP Natalie Des Rosiers’ account which described Abdi as being “murdered by a careless police officer.” The tweet caused a backlash after their appearance on Wednesday – although Des Rosiers said a “younger employee” had written the message.

The tweet which was sent out at 9:13 p.m. included the hashtags #JusticeforAbdi and #StopViolence. The tweet appears to be part of a series tweeted in English and French.

Charles Bordeleau’s tweet emerged at 3:59 a.m. in response to Des Rosiers’ tweet with the message, “Mr. Abdi’s death has been difficult for many. We should all respect due process and allow the Court to fulfill it’s role.”

The president of the Ottawa Police Association, Matt Skof, also reacted to Des Rosiers, tweet, “Are these irresponsible comments reflective of @Ontario_Liberal?” and tagged Premier Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne), Yasir Naqvi (@Yasir_Naqvi) the Attorney General, the Ontario Police Association (@PoliceAssocON), and Ottawa Police Association (@OTTAWAPAca).

Beating unarmed civilian to death is certainly more than "careless" and shows complete disregard for human life. Although the tweet was very diplomatic and there was no reason to apologize, Skof, on Thursday said he had a conversation with Des Rosiers and she had apologized. According to Skof, his major concern was to know if the concerned staffer has been fired, or, “…whether or not the staffer is expressing an opinion that they’ve heard in that office.”

In an interview with Metro, Des Rosiers said, “It wasn’t me, but I certainly take responsibility for the fact that it was uttered under my name and that it was written by a member of the team.

“So I’m really sorry and when I found out about the tweet this morning then I took the step to obviously delete it and also issue a statement to clarify that I spent my entire life defending the presumption of innocence and I will continue to do that.

“I would have never said what was said because I believe in the presumption of innocence. I also believe that it’s not appropriate to comment where there’s ongoing judicial processes.”

Des Rosiers said that she monitors her tweet but it was unfortunate that the tweet was sent out when she was asleep. She said on seeing the tweet in the morning, the first thought that came to her mind was that her account has been hacked. It was later she learned a “young employee” has been responsible.

Des Rosiers has declined all pressures to identify and fire the staffer but said, “Certainly internally we’re going to have to review the protocols and make sure people understand their role,” with a subsequent change of password to the account.

By 10 a.m. Thursday, all the tweets were gone.