'I believe he saved my life,' Ottawa officer tells court at Montsion manslaughter trial
Published Thursday, June 20, 2019 4:46PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, June 20, 2019 4:51PM EDT
There was some explosive testimony Thursday in the manslaughter trial of Constable Daniel Montsion. The first officer on the scene told court he feared Abdirahman Abdi would have “ripped his arms out” if he had been given the chance, adding he believes Montsion saved his life. It's clear that day in July still has a profound impact on Constable David Weir. He hasn't worked as a cop in two years and detailed in a soft voice how he feared Abdi would destroy him.
Const. Daniel Montsion is on trial for the death of 37-year-old Abdirahman Abdi, charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. But a second officer was also on the scene that day in July of 2016. Const. David Weir was also investigated by the Special Investigations Unit but was not charged.
"I feel like I'm in an impossible situation" he told the court about his testimony today "I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place" adding he has been off work for the past 2 years since the fatal confrontation in which Abdi died.
Weir was the initial officer on the scene after calls about a series of sexual assaults in and around the Bridgehead Coffee Shop that morning. Weir had attempted to arrest Abdi before a foot chase occurred to 55 Hilda Street where Abdi lived.
The CCTV footage presented during the trial shows Weir hitting Abdi several times with his baton and then Montsion punching him in the head before they take Abdi to the ground.
Weir told court when he arrived at the Bridgehead coffee shop for a disturbance, he saw about 30 people and Abdi with a man. He made a decision to arrest Abdi.
Weir says "my initial observation led me to question his mental health" noting the way he was speaking, the spit flying and his bloodshot eyes. "There was something wrong" Weir told court.
Abdi took off and Weir followed. Weir says Abdi ran up to a construction area and tried to pick up a sign.
"As I see him struggling with this thing" he says "I spray him right in the face. Right in the face. He didn't even blink.”
He then describes Abdi picking up a heavy weight. Weir says he was afraid Abdi was going to hit him in the face. He struck Abdi twice in the legs with his baton. He says it had no effect.
The Crown asks if Abdi ever turned on Weir. Weir says he didn't give him an opportunity
“He would have ripped my arms out,” he says. "This guy was strong. I'm not a little guy but this guy would have destroyed me if I had gotten close to him."
Weir was the lone officer at this point, too busy to radio for help.
"I wanted help. I needed help,” he told court.
He said he was glad when Montsion showed up, saying he believes Montsion saved his life.
Weir is a father of three. He told court Montsion helped him arrest Abdi that day and helped Weir get home to his kids.