Mayor says police budget will be viewed through “different lens” after officers shoot man in crisis in Mississauga
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says the 2021 Peel Regional Police budget—which many are calling to be reduced—will be "viewed through a different lens" in the wake of the fatal shooting of Ejaz Choudhry, a 62-year-old father of four who reportedly suffered from schizophrenia.
Choudhry, who was recently identified by the Acting President of Muslim Council of Peel, Ibrahim Hindy, was fatally shot by police on Saturday, June 20 after tactical and K9 officers were called to his apartment at 3425 Morningstar Drive in Malton to conduct a wellness check.
According to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Choudhry, who was in crisis, barricaded himself inside the unit and did not communicate with police for some time.
"Shortly after communication stopped, officers breached the door and entered the unit," the SIU said.
"An interaction occurred which included officers deploying a conducted energy weapon at the man, as well as firing plastic projectiles from an Anti Riot Weapon ENfield. When these had no effect, an officer discharged a firearm and the man was struck."
Choudhry was pronounced dead at 8:38 p.m.
The SIU, an arm's length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault, has assigned six investigators and three forensic investigators to this case.
Crombie, who has been asked whether or not she'll push to defund Peel police amid world-wide protests against system racism and discrimination in policing, commented on the incident and signalled her willingness to take a different approach to budgetary decisions.
"It's very sad when a life is lost in our community. My heart goes out to his family. I ask the SIU to act quickly. Our goal is to support the vulnerable and ensure these incidents never happen again. The 2021 [Peel police] budget will be reviewed through a different lens," Crombie wrote on June 21.
Crombie sits on the Peel Police Services Board and is preparing to present a motion to the board to propose equipping all police officers with body-worn cameras. The motion is being prepared in partnership with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and is supported by Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah.
Hindy took to Twitter to speak out against the incident, saying that Choudhry was a regular in the local masjid and was non-violent.
"Why did [the] police force execute a mentally ill man? Why was a tactical unit sent on a mental health call? Why was it necessary for there to be assault weapons on a mental health call?," Hindy tweeted.
"This is unconscionable," he wrote in another tweet.
Hindy said Choudhry has left behind a wife and four children, including a 7-year-old daughter.
A GoFundMe with a fundraising goal of $100,000 has been set up by Choudhry's nephew to support the deceased man's family.
Sven Spengemann, a Mississauga MP, said the incident—as well as others involving police and mentally ill people—are troubling.
"It is deeply troubling that people with mental health challenges continue to die at the hands of our police forces," Spengemann tweeted.
"Deeply troubling and unacceptable. We need to launch an urgent rethink, including oversight processes."
Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the SIU's lead investigator at 1-800-787-8529.
Cover photo courtesy of GoFundMe
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