Ottawa·Updated

Montsion's assault gloves part of his uniform, defence argues

The assault gloves worn by Const. Daniel Montsion during Abdirahman Abdi's fatal arrest were a part of his uniform and not offensive equipment, argued his defence lawyer Tuesday.

The gloves manufactured by Oakley are described as 'tactical' or 'assault gloves' 

Ottawa police Const. Daniel Montsion punched Abdi repeatedly while wearing Oakley assault gloves during the arrest on July 24, 2016. By the end of the altercation, Abdi was without vital signs and was declared dead in hospital the following day. (CBC)

The assault gloves worn by Const. Daniel Montsion during Abdirahman Abdi's fatal arrest were a part of his uniform and not offensive equipment, argued his defence lawyer Tuesday.

Montsion has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in Abdi's death on July 24, 2016.

Montsion punched Abdi, 37, in the head several times during an arrest outside Abdi's apartment building, while wearing gloves with reinforced knuckles

The gloves, which are manufactured by Oakley, are described as "tactical" or "assault gloves" and are central to the weapons charge Montsion faces.

Defence lawyer Solomon Friedman argued Montsion's gloves are part of his equipment — like his boots and pants — as a police officer.

"Const. Montsion didn't bring an unapproved weapon to 55 Hilda," said Friedman, referring to the address of Abdi's apartment building.

"It wasn't a personal choice or affectation. Instead [Montsion] was wearing the gloves that were purchased by his supervisor Sgt. Sandra Sparling."

Earlier in the trial, the Crown had called use of force expert Michael Federico, a former deputy chief with Toronto police, who explained the gloves were not approved by the provincial government as weapons for police in Ontario.

The gloves Const. Daniel Montsion wore the day Abdirahman Abdi died. (Court exhibit)
However, the Crown later conceded that a member of Montsion's unit purchased the assault gloves. 

Friedman also contended the plastic reinforcement in the gloves are there to protect the wearer, rather than to inflict harm.

"Any such gloves are in fact protective equipment and not offensive equipment," he said.

Friedman argued the Crown had the opportunity to conduct testing regarding the force generated by the use of the gloves, but they didn't.

'Surely, Mr. Abdi was in fight or flight mode'

The defence also focused on the issue of causation related to Abdi's death.

In June 2019, pathologist Dr. Christopher Milroy testified that Abdi died of homicide by heart attack, and that the gloves Montsion wore did extensive damage to his face.

However, he stated that was not the only possible explanation for Abdi's injuries or death.

Pointing to some of Milroy's testimony, Friedman argued Abdi had an underlying heart condition and suffered a series of emotional and physical stressors that led to his fatal heart attack, including numerous alleged assaults at a coffee shop.

Abdi had also been kneed in the abdomen and repeatedly struck by Const. Dave Weir after being chased to his apartment building before Montsion arrived on scene, which could have caused Abdi's adrenaline to spike, the defence lawyer argued.

"Surely, Mr. Abdi was in fight or flight mode," said Friedman. 

Closing arguments in the case continue until Wednesday.

 

With files from Laura Osman

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