Defund the Ottawa police, groups tell police board
People calling to defund the Ottawa police brought their message directly to the group overseeing the force’s budget Monday night.
Four of the five members of the public who addressed the Ottawa Police Services Board asked it to redirect money from police to social services such as mental health and housing.
“We need to reimagine what law enforcement looks like in Ottawa,” said Robin Browne, a member of 613/819 Black Hub, an advocacy organization.
“We’re not calling for the abolition of policing … Rather a proper, reallocation of funding that could begin the process of ending the culture of police brutality.”
Nearly 10 per cent of city budget is police
Calls to defund police services across North America have grown louder in recent weeks as protests spread in response to police killings of civilians, notably Black or Indigenous people.
Ottawans held a march against racism and police brutality earlier this month, then a protest over the weekend marked the death of Abdirahman Abdi, a 37-year-old man who died following a violent altercation with Ottawa police in July 2016.
Ottawa police Const. Daniel Montsion has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
Farhia Ahmed, a co-founder of the Justice for Abdirahman Coalition, told the members of the police board it has pushed for reform for years, but the calls have fallen on deaf ears.
“Demands for justice have reached a boiling point and we cannot ignore them,” said Ahmed.