News Brief

Somali-Canadian Man Dies from Severe Injuries Inflicted During Arrest By Police

Think Canada offers a sanctuary from anti-blackness and police brutality? Think again.

UPDATE: CBC News reports that Abdirahman Abdi has died from his injuries, according to his family. Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, has confirmed Abdi's death. A family representative says the hospital waited 45 minutes before informing Abdi's family that he had died.


For those of you who have been swearing up and down that you’re moving to Canada if Donald Trump becomes the next U.S. President—wait, not so fast.

A 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man with a “mental capacity issue” has been taken to the hospital in critical condition Sunday following an attempted arrest, Ottawa Citizen reports.

Ontario’s Special Investigation Unit, a civilian oversight body that probes a death, serious injury or an allegation of sexual assault involving police, is investigating as Abdirahman Abdi remains in critical condition Monday.

Sunday morning, police were called after reports of groping at a coffee shop. When the two police officers confronted Abdi, it’s alleged he led them on a foot chase and “at some point during the confrontation, [he] suffered medical distress” and was taken to The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus. However, witnesses say Abdi was pepper-sprayed and brutally beaten with a baton by the police officers.

"I heard the screaming, and then I come out and I see my brother lying down, police hitting so badly. Like, I've never seen something like that in my life,"Abdirizaq Abdi, the assaulted man’s brother, says, according to CBC News.

Sound familiar? It’s very similar to the instance of police brutality in France that sparked several days of riots north of Paris last week—police claimed Adama Traore, a 24-year-old black Muslim man, suddenly died from “a serious infection” while they arrested him.

The tragic situation involving Abdi comes as Black Lives Matter has gained traction in Canada too, especially in light of outrage over recent police killings in the U.S. of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile as well as last week’s shooting of Charles Kinsey, who had his hands up and was providing assistance to an autistic man.

For example, Black Lives Matter Toronto called out anti-black racism in the LGBTQ community. BLMTO staged a sit-in during Toronto’s Pride Parade on July 3, bringing it to standstill. The organizers refused to cease until the Pride Toronto representatives agreed to sign a letter of demands, which included the the banning of police floats from future parades.

“The presence of police might make some of y’all safe,” Rodney Diverlus, BLMTO co-founder who identifies as queer, says through a megaphone. “But it makes a whole lot of people in our community unsafe. And if you’re down for an inclusive Pride, you are down for a police-free Pride.”

The executive director of Pride Toronto Mathieu Chantelois eventually signed off on BLMTO's demands, so the parade could resume, but the onslaught of racist vitriol and death threats that the chapter received following their act of civil disobedience is appalling, and reinforces the necessity of the black lives matter rallying cry.

These events suggest Canada is not a sanctuary from police brutality or anti-blackness, as some may like to believe. They are part and parcel of white supremacy, a global system that we live in.

If you can stomach another video illustrating police brutality, see below.

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Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

How You Can Help Nigeria’s #EndSARS Protests

We round up some ways you can support the movement and its cause, no matter where you are in the world.

Widespread protests against Nigeria's notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) are becoming more of a revolution. The movement is an outcry from youths demanding a general reform of the country, majorly characterized by poor governance, with a focus on the harassment and assaults committed by SARS. The movement has been raging through the city of Lagos for the past three weeks, as protesters home and abroad have taken to the streets in masses to express their keen dissatisfaction.

Hashtags like #EndSARS, #EndPoliceBrutality, and #EndBadGovernanceInNigeria have brandished across all social media platforms to amplify the voices of the youth people fighting back. These hashtags have, in turn, gained traction with the help of celebrities like singers Rihanna, Demi Lovato, and Beyoncé, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and many others. Nigerian stars, Falz, Runtown, Tiwa Savage, Davido, Wizkid, Burna Boy, and many more also joined in the movement, as many of them took to the streets with placards.

To date, the peacefully protesting Nigerians' needs have not been met. With said needs not being satisfied as they demand justice for lives lost due to the brutal and corrupt practices of police officers.

We have rounded up some ways you can support this movement and its cause, no matter where you are in the world.

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