STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF ABDIRAHMAN ABDI
Yet again, we mourn. We mourn for the loss of life of a Black person. We mourn for the incredible loss to the Somali community, and the broader Black community. We mourn.
Earlier this week, Abdirahman Abdi, a 37-year old Somali-born man was killed by Ottawa Police officers Dave Weir and Daniel Montison. Brother Abdi was killed in broad daylight, in front of children, community and his family. We pay our respects to the family as they lay him to rest this weekend.
Brother Abdirahman was killed because he teetered on the intersections of Blackness, Somaliness, Islamophobia, and mental health. This past year, three other Black Somali men with mental health issues have been killed by the police, including Abdurahman Hassan, who was killed in an immigration detention centre (The Special Investigations Unit again cleared police of any wrongdoing in Brother Hassan’s case, despite the fact that police officers were restraining him and holding a towel over his mouth at the time of his death. For more information, see:https://endimmigrationdetention.com/catego…/justice-for-abdi).
Brother Abdirahman was killed because of a society that says his life doesn’t matter. One that allows for hospitals to corroborate the police, to protect his killers, claiming to his family and the public that he was alive and in “critical condition” for 24 hours, even though he was dead 45 minutes before arriving at the hospital. He received no medical help in his last minutes of life.
Abdirahman was killed because, as a Black Somali migrant man living with autism, his existence was targeted for execution by state-produced violence. As Black people, we are disproportionately affected by police violence on the streets, at our homes and at the border. This violence is evidenced by the high number of our children taken by the Children’s Aid Society, school-to-prison pipelines, mass incarcerations, poverty, mental health histories, death, police raids, and many streamlined to psychiatric facilities.
On top of that, there is a particular way in which Somalis, the largest continental African diaspora in Canada, are distinctly criminalized through tropes of ‘terror’ and Islamophobia. The longstanding ways in which Canadian media have irresponsibly created dehumanizing narratives of Somaliness which result in the violent targeting of the Somali community by police. And too often culminate in the way that Abdirahman was profiled, targeted and criminalized and murdered.
Abdirahman Abdi’s life mattered.
All Black Lives Matter!
We must hold the police accountable for the killing of Abdirahman. We must hold Ottawa hospital accountable for their role in protecting the police and lying to the public. We must hold the SIU accountable for their histories of anti-Blackness, a trend that we expect to continue in this case.
We are communicating with the family and Somali organizers/community in Toronto and Ottawa to provide our solidarity and support. We will update you all on next steps and what support looks like in Toronto.
There are currently solidarity actions happening in Montreal and Ottawa. We will promote them on our networks and encourage all who live in those jurisdictions to attend.
We are here for Black life, all Black lives. No one gets left behind. We will fight back
In love, rage, and solidarity,
Reprinted with permission from Black Lives Matter - Toronto. Originally posted on Facebook.