Subject officer in fatal shooting of Ejaz Choudry has refused to speak with SIU
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, July 23, 2020 4:31PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 23, 2020 7:52PM EDT
The subject officer in the fatal police-involved shooting of a 62-year-old man in Mississauga last month has refused to speak with investigators with the province’s police watchdog and has not handed over his notes.
Police were initially dispatched to an apartment in the area of Goreway and Morning Star drives on the evening of June 20 after receiving a call about a person in crisis.
The SIU has previously said that when officers arrived on scene a man, identified as Ejaz Choudry, had barricaded himself inside the unit.
They say that officers initially were able to communicate with Choudry but when that communication stopped they breached the door and entered the unit.
At that point an interaction occurred which led police to deploy a conducted energy weapon at Choudry. The SIU said that when that had “no effect” an officer then discharged a firearm, striking the father of four multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a news release issued on Thursday, the SIU said that it is continuing to investigate the incident but has not been able to speak with the subject officer, who “declined to be interviewed and did not submit a copy of his notes, as is his legal right.”
The SIU said that investigators did recover a knife from the scene, along with a police-issued firearm, a conducted energy weapon and an Anti-Riot Weapon.
They said that the firearm and knife have been sent to the sent to the Centre of Forensic Sciences for analysis.
Meanwhile, the SIU says that nine witness officers have been interviewed and a request has been made to Choudry’s family so that investigators can access his medical records.
Investigators have also taken possession of unspecified video footage, the SIU said.
“The SIU is working to ensure the investigation is concluded, and its findings released, as expeditiously as possible,” the news release notes.
Relatives of Choudry have previously said that they asked police to let them talk to him to de-escalate the situation but were rebuffed. They also said they told officers that Choudry did not speak English but that police continued to shout commands at him that he could not understand.
"We just want answers for what happened and the reasoning behind it, because we know it was wrong," Choudry's nephew, Hassan Choudhary, said during a protest outside Peel Regional Police headquarters last month.
The SIU has said that they have “substantially completed” their fieldwork, though the investigation remains open as investigators await “additional information including evidence” from Choudry’s family.
It should be noted that under the Police Services Act subject officers cannot be legally compelled to present themselves for an interview with the SIU or hand over their notes.
The counsel for the family said the news of the subject officer declining to be interviewed by SIU is “troubling but not surprising.”
“There is nothing he could possibly say that could excuse or justify shooting Ejaz,” Nader Hasan said in a statement.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims is calling for Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah to do the right thing and take action to ensure the family receives justice.
“We have been clear from day one with the Peel Regional Police. We have demanded answers. We have demanded accountability. We have demanded that the Peel Regional Police immediately state that there is no zero tolerance for officers who engage in excessive force,” Mustafa Farooq, the CEO of the organization, said in a statement.
“Simply put, the silence of the Peel Regional Police, in refusing to take clear action and continuing to pass the proverbial buck to the SIU, speaks volumes. The fact that the officer declined to work with the SIU, in our estimation, speaks for itself.”