Ottawa police equity council member resigns

·2 min read

A member of the Ottawa Police Service's community equity council (CEC) has resigned, citing a "failure of leadership" following the acquittal of Const. Daniel Montsion of all criminal charges in the death of Abdirahman Abdi.

César Ndéma-Mousa said the council should have been present at a rally at Confederation Park following the Oct. 20 verdict, where members of the Justice for Abdirahman Coalition addressed approximately 200 people.

"What is the point of the committee equity council if it's not there for the community?" Ndéma-Mousa asked by phone late Thursday afternoon. "Like, what are we here for?"

The CEC was created after its predecessor, the community and police action committee (COMPAC), was found to be out of touch with the community. According to the Ottawa police website, the CEC's role is to "provide advice and insight to the police on ways to improve and strengthen the relationships between the OPS and the many Indigenous, faith-based and racialized communities or organizations in Ottawa."

Ndéma-Mousa also voiced his complaints at a CEC meeting two weeks ago, later telling CBC he criticized the volunteer group's leadership and accused it of "lacking teeth and lacking presence."

Ndéma-Moussa censured

Following those comments, a facilitator with the CEC wrote Ndéma-Mousa to say his comments were outside the group's code of conduct, and that a number of meeting attendees had raised concerns about his behaviour.

In solidarity with Ndéma-Mousa, Ketcia Peters, a former co-chair of COMPAC, resigned from a CEC working group that she chaired, though she was not a member of the CEC.

Justice for Abdirahman issued a statement criticizing the CEC after Ndéma-Mousa received the letter.

Matthew Kupfer/CBC
Matthew Kupfer/CBC

But CEC co-chair Sadaha Alolo said Ndéma-Mousa's resignation won't affect the council's work, characterizing the recent developments to "petty squabbles" and balking at suggestions the CEC is out of touch with the community.

"If we are, I'll be the first to humbly admit that, OK, let's do better," Alolo said. "You tell us how we are losing touch, and you tell us how we can do to be better, right?"