THE National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Muslim Council of Peel in a joint statement on the decision by Ontario’s Special Investigations in the June 2010 Ejaz Choudry case said on Tuesday: “Today, we received the disturbing news that the SIU has concluded its investigation on the case of Ejaz Choudry, and that no criminal charges will be laid against the police officers involved in his death. While this announcement is no doubt disturbing, it is not surprising. The SIU almost never lays criminal charges against the police officers it investigates. Still, in our conversations with the Choudry family, we understand that they had hoped against hope for accountability in such a clear-cut case.”
The NCCM and MCP said: “The police forced their way into a frail, elderly man’s home. Uncle Ejaz had clear mental health issues that the police were aware of. They killed him – supposedly, in part, in an attempt to help him as he “demonstrated a lack of competence to care for himself”. The SIU’s decision leaves the family with more questions than answers: What was the justification for using lethal force against a frail, elderly man in his own home? Why did it take nearly a year to make this decision to not lay any charges? How can we have a just process when one of the officers did not cooperate with the SIU? If there are no reasonable grounds to lay charges in this case, will there ever be a time when the SIU does lay charges?
“The lack of enforcement and penalty here showcases the much larger issue surrounding a failed system of review and the absence of police accountability.
“We need to see action from the provincial government, and for immediate changes to be brought to entirely reform the way that the SIU – which is clearly broken beyond repair – to be changed.
“We also need to see systemic change in how mental health crises are handled across the province with significant investments made into alternative crisis support. We recognize that Peel Police is undergoing reform, including through a binding process with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, a process that we are engaged on, that will in theory change the way things like mental health crises are dealt with.
“However, we recognize that there can be no change, and no justice, without accountability first. The officer responsible for the death of Uncle Ejaz should not be on the streets with a badge and a gun.
“We will not stop demanding answers.
“We are aware of the fact that Uncle Ejaz’s family has retained legal counsel with one of Canada’s best lawyers, Nader Hasan – and we encourage all Canadians to keep fighting forward on this issue.
“Because they’re not going to stop fighting.
“And we’re not going to stop fighting either.”