7 arrested in protest after Ontario’s police watchdog doesn’t lay charges in Ejaz Choudry death

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A Peel Regional Police spokesperson says seven people have been arrested after a protest in response to a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) report that found there was no basis to charge officers in connection with the shooting death of Ejaz Choudry.

Members of the group Malton People’s Movement gathered at the corner of Goreway and Morning Star drives, near where the 62-year-old lived before he died, on Saturday when it was alleged that those arrested were acting violent and unlawfully.

The seventh arrest was made outside of 21 division in Peel Region and all are being processed at the station.

Police were called just after 2:00 p.m. to the area after reports of a traffic alert.

Officers facilitated the demonstration for over five hours and provided resources to close roadways for their safety.

“Unfortunately, this demonstration deviated from a peaceful gathering when demonstrators attempted to push through a police safety line to try and occupy a railway corridor,” Const. Akhil Mooken told Global News.

“We have no choice. We’re here to take the streets again until we get some kind of justice, some kind of response,” Vijay Balasundram, a supporter of Malton People’s Movement, said in an interview.

As of Saturday evening, it wasn’t clear what, if any, charges those arrested might face.

News of the arrests came days after SIU director Joseph Martino said in a report he was “unable to form reasonable grounds to believe any PRP officer committed a criminal offence” in Choudry’s death.

It was at around 5:15 p.m. on June 20 when police were first dispatched to Choudry’s home after Choudry’s daughter called emergency services to ask for an ambulance.

According to the report, the woman reported Choudry was not taking medication for schizophrenia and left a hospital even though he wasn’t discharged. The caller also said Choudry had a pocket knife. The woman, along with her three brothers and her mother, were told to leave the apartment “as a precaution.”

The report said police arrived around 15 minutes later and an officer subsequently reported Choudry had a large kitchen knife, prompting the service’s tactical response unit to be called.

Just after 8 p.m., an officer reported Choudry was “paranoid and delusional.” After several minutes of silence, the report said police moved to go ahead with a “deliberate action plan” at around 8:25 p.m. — a plan that would see tactical response unit officers enter the apartment through the balcony (officers used ladders to get to it) followed by more officers breaching the front door five seconds later.

The report outlined how the officer who eventually shot Choudry tried to kick in the balcony door, but it didn’t fully open at first.

In the explanation of the decision to not proceed with criminal charges, Martino said the officers executed their duties in a lawful manner.

UPDATE: – The demonstrators have attempted to push through police safety lines – For the safety of all involved and those in the community, this is no longer considered a peaceful gathering – Those in attendance are asked to disperse

— Peel Regional Police (@PeelPolice) April 10, 2021

— With files from Nick Westoll

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