May 19, 2022

Members of the Black community in Waterloo Region stood up to support Irene Ekweozoh, a PhD law student from Nigeria, who was arrested on Sep. 20.

Black Lives Matter of Waterloo Region said in a statement that, “after months of living in fear of attacks from her white neighbour and her dog; and after multiple attempts to get help from Waterloo Region Police Service … a Black African immigrant mother and law student was wrongfully arrested and has been charged.”

Ekweozoh, a single mother, had several arguments with a next door neighbour in her apartment building.

The issues escalated on Sep. 20. when she was arrested.

In an interview with Spoke Online, Ekweozoh recalls her arrest.

“I heard knocks, like loud knocks on my door and I see four police officers at my door, informing me that I’m under arrest,” she said.

Per her lawyer’s advice, Ekweozoh can’t speak about what happened, but according to the Waterloo Regional Police Service, they responded to a report of an assault at an apartment building in Waterloo.

“The victim told police that they were assaulted with a broom by a neighbour after a verbal altercation. The victim suffered minor injuries as a result of the incident. As a result of the investigation, a Waterloo female has been charged with assault with a weapon,” police said in a response to Spoke Online questions.

Black Lives Matter of Waterloo Region started a petition to drop the charges against Ekweozoh.

“We have called out for the community to stand alongside and support Irene. The voice of the community has been ignored by WRPS but we know when we amplify our voices they cannot ignore it,” says Fanis Juma, an organizer for local Black Lives Matter.

People who want to sign the petition can find it on Black Lives Matter of Waterloo Region’s Facebook Page.

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