April 6th, 2021

NDP statement on SIU’s finding in Ejaz Choudry case

BRAMPTON — NDP Attorney General critic Gurratan Singh (Brampton East) released the following statement in response to Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU)’s decision in the Ejaz Choudry case:

“Today, Ejaz Choudry’s family and community were denied the justice and closure they deserved by an appalling, utterly broken police oversight structure that routinely fails racialized Ontarians and people living with mental health issues. We stand with Mr. Choudry’s family and community during this incredibly painful time.

Ejaz Choudry’s family called a non-emergency line for assistance, because Mr. Choudry – a loving father of four, living with schizophrenia – was in crisis and needed help. But instead of de-escalating the situation or providing the mental health supports Mr. Choudry needed to be safe and healthy, police kicked in his balcony door and fired multiple shots into his home, two of which hit him in the chest and killed him.

The subject officer in Mr. Choudry’s killing has not been identified, and refused to be interviewed by SIU or even provide notes for the investigation. Shamefully, this toothless investigation is not an isolated incident, but part of a longstanding systemic failing. That’s why for generations, legal experts, community leaders, judges, and racialized families in Ontario have been calling for comprehensive reform of this system, that lacks even the bare minimum of accountability, independence and transparency.

It is long past time to completely overhaul these broken systems and give all Ontarians confidence that police will be held accountable, so no family ever faces what Mr. Choudry’s family has today. We must also shift responsibility for mental health calls to alternative first responders equipped to de-escalate and resolve mental health crises safely. Lastly, we must urgently invest in community health, including critical mental health infrastructure to keep all our loved ones safe and healthy.”