Ottawa police are apologizing to a 21-year-old Black man and his family after a woman called 911 on him for refusing to move from a public bridge.
Ntwali Bashizi rides his bike on Stonebridge Trail in Barrhaven a few times a week.
He often plans to stop on a small bridge to rest and take in the surrounding scenery. He did this on Monday afternoon, pulling over to the side of the bridge, listening to music on his Beats headphones as he rested.
Bashizi looked over his shoulder to see a white woman on the trail, but not on the bridge. The woman would later call 911 — an emergency line — to report him. And police would offer a frank apology for how they would handle it.
“I see a woman approach and I notice that she hasn’t walked by me,” Bashizi told this newspaper. “So I look in her direction because I find it odd that she hasn’t walked by and I notice that she’s talking to me.”
He turned off his music and said she told him that she was waiting for him to move so she could cross the bridge — presumably to adhere to physical distancing guidelines to stay six feet away from other people. She asked him to get off the bridge. Bashizi looked at the bridge, which he said is the same width as the trail, which was being used by others, and said he told the woman there was enough space for her to pass.