More than 500 people rallied in Canada’s capital on Saturday to protest the death of a mentally ill black man following an arrest.
Protesters were marching against what they see as race-based police brutality in a country that prides itself for being tolerant.
Abdirahman Abdi, 37, was pronounced dead on Monday after being hospitalized in critical condition following his arrest last Sunday. Witnesses told local media the Somalian-Canadian man was beaten by Ottawa police officers who responded to calls of a disturbance.
A video taken by a bystander showed Abdi in a bloodied shirt lying face down on the ground with his hands cuffed behind him and his pants pulled down before paramedics arrived.
People can be heard in the background wailing hysterically as officers surround Abdi. A family spokeswoman said that he had been dead for 45 minutes before arriving at the hospital. His family has said he struggled with mental health issues.
Witnesses said Abdi was pepper sprayed, punched in the head and beaten with a baton during the arrest outside his apartment building, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.