Sunday, 23 July 2017
featured Racism

Still no expert hired for Halifax carding analysis

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – An investigation by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) into the practice of carding, or police street checks, in Halifax still has not started. The investigation, as well as an immediate suspension of the practice, was requested by Black community members in early January.

Halifax Regional Police headquarters. Photo Ben MacLeod, Wikipedia

In April Christine Hanson, CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, told the Nova Scotia Advocate that an initial data review of carding data would be concluded sometime in July, and that at that time a report would be issued on the findings. That report was also to include a framework for next steps.

Street check statistics released by Halifax Regional Police as a result of a Freedom of Information request revealed that Black people in HRM are three times more likely to be stopped than white people. Halifax police argues that these stark numbers do not necessarily mean the department engages in racial profiling, hence the need for this expert.

When we checked in with the Commission again in early June, an expert to analyse the carding data for evidence of racial profiling had not yet been hired.

“A number of highly qualified individuals have been proposed and the Commission is currently in discussions concerning who would be most appropriate,” the Nova Scotia Advocate was told at that time.

Another month later nothing has changed.

“We have a shortlist of potential experts who we are in discussions with. The process is ongoing. We’re working closely with the Halifax Regional Police Department and the community, and once the expert is agreed upon that will be announced,” said Adria May, spokesperson for the NSHRC.

Who knows, maybe the problem is that the parties cannot agree on who to hire. Or maybe things just move very, very slowly at the NSHRC. Even the fall deadline mentioned in June now may be in jeopardy.

“We’re hoping to have some results sometime in the fall, we’ll be working very closely with the person to determine the timeline, and also with other persons. We are facilitating the process, in other words we have desired timelines, but we also depend on other people,”said May.

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