Ottawa

'Assault gloves' to be entered into evidence at Montsion trial

The reinforced gloves worn by an Ottawa police officer during the arrest of Abdirahman Abdi are expected to be entered into evidence Tuesday as the officer's manslaughter trial resumes.

Ottawa police officer facing manslaughter, assault charges in 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi

Ottawa police Const. Daniel Montsion is facing charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the July 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi. Sources tell CBC News Montsion was wearing a pair of these Oakley 'assault gloves' at the time of Abdi's arrest.

The reinforced gloves worn by an Ottawa police officer during the arrest of Abdirahman Abdi are expected to be entered into evidence Tuesday as the officer's trial resumes. 

Const. Daniel Montsion pleaded not guilty Monday to manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in Abdi's death in front of his Hintonburg apartment building in July 2016.

The gloves, which have thick carbon fibre plates over the knuckles, came under scrutiny following Abdi's death.

'An arrest gone bad'

On Monday, the Crown told a packed courtroom that Montsion's trial is the story of "an arrest gone bad."

Assistant Crown attorney Philip Perlmutter characterized the evidence as "uncomplicated," and boiled the trial down to two central questions:

  1. Did the accused use excessive force?
  2. Did the accused cause the death of Abdirahman Abdi?

On Tuesday, the Crown will call David Robinson, a forensic investigator with Ontario's Special Investigations Unit, back to the stand.

Robinson collected blood and other evidence from the scene, including a thumb drive containing security video footage from the lobby of Abdi's apartment building.

Activist and writer Desmond Cole speaks with CBC about Const. Daniel Montsion's trial for the death of Abdirahman Abdi 7:45

'Unjustified' punches

Perlmutter said the video will show footage of Montsion joining Const. Dave Weir at the scene before punching Abdi more than once in the face with a closed fist. Montsion did not hesitate and was wearing reinforced gloves, Perlmutter told the court.

He said the footage will then show Montsion and Weir hauling a bleeding Abdi to the ground, where the accused then punched Abdi in the legs and again in the face. Abdi stopped moving shortly after that, Perlmutter said.​

It was those "unjustified" blows to Abdi's head and body that caused his fatal heart attack, the Crown said Monday.

Perlmutter acknowledged Abdi had a pre-existing heart condition, but said the blows to Abdi's head and body caused his fatal heart attack.

Community support

Abdi's mother and brother, who witnessed the arrest, will also testify, but won't observe the trial. On Monday, more than 40 members of Ottawa's Somali community came to the courthouse to show support.

This case is beyond the Abdi family. It's a case that touches Ottawans from every corner of the city.- Farhia Ahmad, Justice for Abdirahman Coalition

"This case is beyond the Abdi family. It's a case that touches Ottawans from every corner of the city," said Farhia Ahmad of the Justice for Abdirahman Coalition.

"The outcome will show what is needed in our policing and police oversight in order for the community to feel safe and for the police services to get a sense of what they need for something like this to never happen again," she said.

Toronto activist and journalist Desmond Cole, who has written extensively about racial discrimination in Canada, was also in the courtroom. 

He said he came to support the family, but noted no outcome will bring Abdi back.

"We have to continue to mourn and honour his life, no matter what happens in this case, and we have to make sure that this never happens again," Cole said.