The group formed after the death of Abdirahman Abdi has made ten recommendations to police, oversight agencies and all levels of government.
Abdi died after a confrontation with Ottawa Police in Hintonburg on July 24.
In a statement released Thursday, the group said they believed Abdi’s death could have been prevented, and there is a crisis in policing today.
The following ten recommendations were made:
- Acknowledge that there is a crisis within the Ottawa Police Services when it comes to how authorities interact with members of radicalized communities, and specifically, with those with mental health issues;
- Strike a task force to examine this crisis, and the disproportionate number of Black men and people with mental health differences that have been killed by police, and to commit to funding relevant programs and legislating policies that address systematic problems in relation to vulnerable and racialized communities; analyze all best practices in community policing, consult with communities, and provide a comprehensive review of police services and an action plan for change, including specific timelines;
- Respond to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s assertion that there is “no effective mechanism to hold police accountable for systematic discrimination” and to provide a remedy for this gap;
- Amend legislation to ensure that the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) provides its reports to the public, until such time that the system has been fully reviewed and overhauled to provide a transparent effective, and independent civilian oversight and accountability of police.
- Commit to reassigning police officers who are under investigation for causing death or serious injury to administrative duty, and prohibiting any form of interfacing with community members until the investigation is complete;
- Fully implement the recommendations made by Ontario’s Ombudsman in the recent report titled “A Matter of Life and Death” and provide regular updates to the community.
- Create consistent standards across all police services in every province with regards to training in dealing with and responding to individuals with mental health issues, as referenced in the 2013 Mental Health and Criminal Justice Policy Framework by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health;
- Require the Special Investigations Unit, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and Statistics Canada to collect and publicly report race-based data on police encounters with civilians, including but not limited to, police use of force;
- Create a special task force to review all Coroner’s Inquest recommendations made since 2001, and identify key recommendations which require immediate response and implementation;
- Require all police services in every province to place body cameras, as well as cameras in police vehicles.
Watch the full press conference below: