The recent story of Ntwali Bashizi, a young Black man being falsely reported to police while innocently out for a bike ride in Ottawa, is a recent example of how 9-1-1 is often weaponized against Black, Indigenous, and racialized people.
This Karen & her buckled knees decided to call the cops on my lil bro for crossing a BRIDGE because it’s not 6 feet in width. She was the assisted by @OttawaPolice who you hear telling him that he’s intimidating her, when they weren’t even there. @JimWatsonOttawa , train them plz pic.twitter.com/DaJ3hRbPnT
— Joakim 🇨🇩 (@IceFresh2) July 6, 2020
We have started a petition to help end the misuse of emergency services as a weapon against Black, Indigenous and other marginalized communities, we need the Ottawa Police and the City of Ottawa to:
- Publicly condemn the vexatious use of 911 / police calls to intimidate Black, Indigenous and racialized people in Ottawa.
- Implement a fine that will be levied against individuals who use OPS as an intimidation tool in racially motivated incidents.
- Commit to anti-bias training for police officers and emergency service staff to better assess and respond to racially motivated 9-1-1 / police calls.
- Begin a public awareness campaign regarding the appropriate use of 911 and educate the public on other numbers that can be called to resolve incidents, especially those that involve mental health.
The petition has received support from MPP Joel Harden, MPP Lisa Macleod and Ottawa City Councillor Rawlson King as ongoing discussions continue with Ottawa City Council and the Ottawa Police Services Board.
Rise Initiative co-founder Tasia Brown was invited on to Troublemaker Radio With Joel Harden to discuss the weaponization of 911, the perceived threat associated with Black skin, and the need for reform to end the vexatious use of 911 against BIPOC. Listen to the podcast episode below.