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Due process or justice unserved? The families of two Mississauga residents who were died during police interactions are asking that question after the province’s Special Investigations Unit completed their investigations into a pair of incidents that occurred in 2019 and 2020.
Clive Mensah, a 30-year-old man who lived in the Running brook Drive and Riverspray Crescent area of the city and was dealing with mental illness, died on Nov. 20 after a police taser was deployed during an interaction.
The SIU concluded that officers attempted to restrain Mensah, and were forced to use the taser, causing him to go into medical distress. Despite attempts at the scene to render aid, Mensah died as a result of the interaction “We have dedicated our lives to protect and help the communities we serve. Due to the unpredictable nature of policing on the frontline, our officers often find themselves in difficult situations.
Despite their best intentions to navigate these situations safely, there is at times a tragic outcome. We are committed to seeking collaborative opportunities to mitigate risk for persons in crisis,” Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said. However, that was cold comfort for Mensah’s family, who wrote in a statement Monday that “no family should have to lose a loved one this way.
Clive was alone and scared and had done nothing wrong.” SIU lead Joseph Martino summarized in his report Monday that while significant force was used, and that the cops may have been able to restrain Mensah instead of deploying a taser, “allowance must be made for the fact that police officers embroiled in potentially volatile situations need not measure the nature and extent of their force with precision.”
In a similar report released Monday, the SIU said that no additional action would be taken regarding the case of 62 year-old Ejaz Choudry, a Malton resident who was shot and killed by a Peel Police officer from his balcony after efforts to deescalate the situation — in which Choudry brandished a kitchen knife and couldn’t understand the officers speaking to him — proved unsuccessful.
The incident, which occurred in June 2020, saw officers attend Chaudry’s residence on Morning Star Road at the request of Peel Paramedics, and learned that he had barricaded himself inside his apartment. Efforts to speak to Choudry, who couldn’t understand the requests of the officers being spoken in English, were unsuccessful.
During the altercation, one of the officers shot two bullets from the balcony of Choudry’s apartment, striking him in the chest. Despite attempts to render aid, Choudry succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The SIU report indicates that the officer who discharged his weapon, who refused to be interviewed for the report as per the province’s Police Services Act, claimed in his notes that he’d “had no choice.” In a statement Monday, Choudry’s family expressed disbelief with the decision, stating that he had “committed no crime,” and “did not deserve any of this.”