As Ottawa police wrap up glove audit, here's what we know so far

Ottawa police are wrapping up an internal audit of all gloves issued to officers — a move prompted by criminal charges laid against an officer. It's unclear if the audit will ever be made public, but here's what we know so far about the force's reinforced gloves.

Internal audit ordered after CBC reported gloves worn by officer charged in death viewed as weapons by SIU

Ottawa police are conducting an audit of all gloves issued to its officers for on-duty use. So far, we know some officers have access to Rev'It! gloves (left and right) and Oakley Standard Issue assault gloves (centre). (CBC News)

Ottawa police are this week wrapping up an internal audit of all gloves issued to officers — a move prompted by criminal charges laid against an officer in the 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi.

It's unclear whether the audit will ever be made public, but here's what we know so far about the reinforced gloves used by some officers.

Police Chief Charles Bordeleau ordered the glove audit after a CBC News investigation found reinforced gloves worn by the constable charged in Abdi's death are being considered a weapon by Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit.

Last week, Ottawa police CFO Jeff Letourneau instructed inspectors to fill out a spreadsheet documenting the following about all force-issued gloves: 

  • The brand and model.
  • Rationale for use.
  • Which units/officers have them.
  • Who approved their purchase and use.
  • Who purchased the gloves.
  • And whether the gloves have hard knuckle protection or not.

The deadline for inspectors to submit the information to Letourneau was Wednesday.

A follow-up email sent by another person specified information about any gloves officers purchased on their own, without the approval of their section supervisor, should not be included in the list.

8 types of gloves documented

The original email from Letourneau said the force's quartermaster — responsible for outfitting officers with clothing and gear — has already documented all gloves issued through that office, but that "several sections" within the force have purchased gloves "directly without going through [the quartermaster].

"I am asking each of you to review your respective directorates and document any gloves purchased directly by sections within your chain of command," the email reads.

Attached to the email is a spreadsheet containing the eight types of gloves already on file.

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 he was wearing a pair of Oakley Standard Issue 'assault gloves' at the time of the attempted arrest.

Two of them are reinforced with hardened knuckle plating and are issued to members of the motorcycle unit for summer and winter crash protection, the spreadsheet reads. They're made by the motorcycle apparel company Rev'It!

The other gloves, which don't have hardened plating, include winter gloves, bicycle gloves, leather search gloves, gloves with soft knuckle protection for officers with hand injuries, white cotton dress uniform gloves and disposable gloves to protect officers from viruses and blood.

The Oakley Standard Issue assault gloves that sources say were worn by Const. Daniel Montsion in the confrontation with Abdi are not on the quartermaster's list.

Ministry wants copy of audit

Earlier this week, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Marie-France Lalonde told CBC News she wants a copy of the Ottawa police glove audit and urged other police forces in the province to conduct their own audits.

"I think all police services in Ontario should consider undertaking an equipment audit to ensure the 'use of force' guidelines continue to reflect the realities of front-line policing in the province," Lalonde said in a statement.

Prior to Lalonde's statement, ministry spokesperson Brent Ross told CBC that "protective equipment, including gloves, helmets and vests, are not classified as weapons, and therefore do not require the minister's approval."

Bordeleau said he wasn't contacted by Lalonde or the ministry about the request.

"If the ministry wishes to have a copy of the audit they can make that request to me directly, at which time it will be assessed," Bordeleau said in an email to CBC News. 

Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau said that if the province wants a copy of its glove audit, the ministry will have to contact him directly. (Ashley Burke/CBC News)