Const. Daniel Montsion would have heard a fellow officer had chased a suspect several blocks — and attempts to use force hadn't worked — before he arrived to aid with the arrest of Abdirahman Abdi in 2016, according to a dispatch call log entered as evidence in Montsion's trial.
Montsion has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the death of Abdirahman Abdi outside of Abdi's Hintonburg apartment building on July 24, 2016.
The Crown's case is built on the premise that Montsion arrived on scene and immediately began punching Abdi, who lost vital signs some time later.
But Montsion may have known that prior attempts to subdue Abdi had failed if he was listening to dispatch records from the day of the arrest that were entered into evidence Tuesday.
Fellow officer testifies
Montsion arrived at 55 Hilda St. around 9:48 a.m. as backup for his fellow officer, Const. Dave Weir.
Weir was the first officer to respond to 911 calls about alleged sexual assaults at the Bridgehead coffee shop on Wellington Street West.
Weir was called by the Crown to testify against Montsion, but made it clear during his testimony that he credits Montsion with saving his life the day of Abdi's arrest.
Weir testified that he had attempted to arrest Abdi, but Abdi ran. Weir resorted to greater and greater use of force over the course of the ensuing foot chase down Wellington Street West toward Abdi's apartment building on Hilda Street, he said.
First Weir said he used verbal communication and tried to hold Abdi in his grip. Later, he used his pepper spray and his baton, but neither seemed to have any effect.
"I just can't believe this guy is still standing," Weir said in court Tuesday, trying to recall what was going through his mind during the chase.
All the while, police officers in central and east division were getting updates on what was happening over the radio channel.
What Montsion would have heard
The dispatch records show that officers in the area were informed about a disturbance at the Bridgehead on Wellington Street W. at about 9:37 a.m.
They heard that a man had thrown himself onto a customer at the coffee shop. Other customers tried to get him off and he was thrown out. The radio dispatchers then told the officers that the man was attacking people outside.
They heard reports of groping before Weir arrived on the scene.
Weir radioed in as soon as Abdi ran away from him at 9:43 a.m.
"This guy is running East on Somerset," he is heard saying on one of the audio recordings filed as exhibits in court.
The recordings are muffled and difficult to understand, which was caused by his gear moving as he ran, Weir said.
Defence lawyer Michael Edelson suggested other officers listening would have known Weir was running because of the sound.
It's not clear if Montsion heard all of Weir's radio dispatches, but they were broadcast to police radios across central division, according to the call log.
Dispatch froze the channel, not allowing anyone else to radio in so they could all hear what was happening during the foot chase.
Weir sounded out of breath as he radioed in later during his pursuit.
"I sprayed him, so far no effect," Weir radioed in at 9:44 a.m., letting dispatch know that his attempt to use pepper spray to arrest Abdi had failed.
Montsion was assigned to assist Weir at 9:47 a.m., and Abdi was handcuffed and on the ground by 9:48 a.m.
The last dispatch call heard in court during Weir's questioning Tuesday was one of Montsion, calling for a higher priority ambulance because Abdi had lost consciousness.
The Crown will have a final chance to ask Weir questions in court on Wednesday.