The director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) will meet tomorrow with the Police Complaints Commissioner to discuss the practice of carding by Halifax police, says a NSHRC spokesperson.
The meeting is in response to issues of racial bias raised by Halifax lawyer Shawna Hoyte and social workers Robert Wright and Lanna MacLean in a letter to the the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) and the Human Rights Commission.
The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner is a provincial body that considers complaints by citizens alleging misconduct by municipal police officers. It can investigate complaints and conduct hearings. It can also launch investigations into the system of policing in municipalities.
Earlier the Human Rights Commission’s Director and CEO Christine Hanson met with Ronald MacDonald, director of SIRT, writes communications adviser Adria May in an email to the Nova Scotia Advocate.
“Racial profiling is no doubt an issue in Nova Scotia. We’ve heard this consistently and directly from African Nova Scotians. The United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, who visited Halifax in October, also expressed serious concerns in a preliminary report, that police racial profiling is disproportionately affecting persons of African descent,” writes May.
“Discussions are still very preliminary and no decisions have yet been made with regard to the most appropriate response,” May adds.
Carding is often euphemistically referred to as police checks in Nova Scotia.
Local reporting on the shameful practice of carding with its built in bias against African Nova Scotians has mostly died down since the issue was first raised in a story by CBC journalists Phlis McGregor and Angela MacIvor on January 9.
Demands that the practice be abandoned have been rejected by municipal and provincial politicians.
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