An outpouring of emotion and support at Paul Coffey Park in Mississauga as a community remembered a 62-year-old father of four who was shot and killed by Peel police last weekend.
The park was filled with family and friends of Ejaz Choudry, some carrying signs that read “defund the police.”
Choudry’s death has prompted plenty of criticism over how police deal with mental health. His family says Choudry suffered from schizophrenia and was going through an episode when his daughter called the non-emergency police line.
“How many more killings are going to happen before we hold the police accountable,” asked Choudry’s nephew who addressed the crowd of mourners. “How many families are they going to leave without fathers. How many seven year olds are they going to leave without fathers. Why wasn’t there a legitimate effort to deescalate the situation.”
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health released a statement, saying police should not be the first responders when people are in crisis.
“Police are not trained in crisis care and should not be expected to lead this important work,” read the statement.
The family along with the National Council of Canadian Muslims, who organized the funeral, have called for the officer who shot Choudry to be removed from the force.
— Melissa Nakhavoly (@MelNakhavoly) June 24, 2020
The province’s Special Investigations Unit, which has now taken over case, said there was an interaction between Choudry and police which included deploying a conducted energy weapon and firing plastic projectiles before shots were fired by one of the officers.
The incident occurred less than month after Regis Korchinski-Paquet, 29, died after falling from her apartment’s balcony while police officers were in her home responding to a possible assault call. Her mother has said she wanted police to take her daughter to a mental health facility in Toronto.
A gofundme page has been established to help support Choudry’s wife and four children and a petition has also begun circulating online demanding a public inquiry into Choudry’s death.