Crown says Montsion's trial is about 'an arrest gone bad.'
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
An arrest gone bad. That’s how the Crown described its case today in the manslaughter and assault trial of Ottawa Police Constable Daniel Montsion. The Crown says it will present evidence to show that Abdirahman Abdi’s cardiac arrest could have been triggered by the injuries he sustained. Constable Daniel Montsion pleaded not guilty today to these 3 serious charges facing him. Two and a half years since Abdi's death, both Montsion and Abdi's family will finally have their day in court.
Cst. Daniel Montsion arrived at the Ottawa courthouse flanked by the president of the Police Association Matt Skof. Montsion declined to say anything as he entered the courthouse for the start of his three month trial on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
That weapon is alleged to be knuckle plated assault gloves that the Crown says will show may have contributed to Abdi's death.
In outlining his case, Crown prosecutor Philip Perlmutter said, "(Abdi) had pre-existing heart disease. Injuries he sustained,” Permutter said, “could have been sufficient to trigger a cardiac arrest."
37-year-old Abidraham Abdi died outside the building where he lived, after a violent confrontation with police. He had been fleeing from them.
The Crown says its evidence will rely heavily on CCTV footage
"…showing Abdi's compliance," the Crown told court, "and how (Montsion) exited his vehicle and immediately struck Abdi with a closed fist, with knuckle-plated assault gloves."
"Montsion’s trial is scheduled to last into the first week of May and will hear from dozens of witnesses who saw Abdi in the Bridgehead coffee shop on the morning he died and from those who videotaped the incident outside his building.
Perlmutter told court that witnesses from Bridgehead,
"…will describe Abdi's strange behavior which made is necessary to eject him and lock the door.”
Abdi's family, who attended court, couldn't actually stay in the courtroom since many of them will also be called as witnesses.
“It is quite an intense process for them,” says Farhia Ahmed with the Justice for Abdirahmin Coalition, “so it is both a relief not to sit through a lot of what we've been hearing today and reliving the accounts on that fateful day in July.”
The Crown's first witness was a forensic investigator with the Special Investigations Unit who collected evidence at the scene where Abdi died, including a 30-pound rubber highway weight. Court has yet to learn its significance.