Sunday, 8 December 2019
featured Racism

Raymond Sheppard: A hollow apology from Chief Kinsella

Chief Dan Kinsella. Photo Twitter

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Last Friday Chief Dan Kinsella of the Halifax Regional Police (HRP) apologized to African Nova Scotians for street checks targeting African Nova Scotians merely because they were driving or walking while Black.

A number of uniformed African Nova Scotian HRP officers were invited to attend the historical apology by the police chief, and this seems to have been done as some kind of strategic move to pacify African Nova Scotians in attendance.

“I am sorry for all those times you were mistreated, victimized and revictimized,” Kinsella said.

Over the years governments and police chiefs have made many promises to African Nova Scotians, but always without any intention to deliver. The facts speak for themselves.

Mayor Savage and Regional Council were noticeably absent from this historic occasion when Chief Kinsella said “I am sorry for our actions that caused you pain, I am sorry for all those times you were mistreated, victimized and revictimized.” 

You have to wonder if  Mayor Savage and Halifax Regional Council are also sorry, or was there not enough of a photo op for them?

Chief Kinsella said “an apology is just the first step” and he outlined an action plan that includes an advisory committee with strong community membership, officer training, recruitment with a focus on diversity, and public education. 

There was no question and answer session after the apology that would have allowed us to learn more about this so-called action plan.

Lest we forget, it was not until a white person, Toronto criminologist Scot Wortley, concluded that African Nova Scotians were indeed subjected to racism by police, something African Nova Scotians were saying for decades but it was falling on deaf ears.

As far as apologies go, Kinsella expressed remorse and regret, and acknowledged that these actions were hurtful to African Nova Scotians, but no forgiveness was sought.  

We all make mistakes, and we all sometimes hurt others, but the actions of the HRP were deliberate and relentless.

The apology and promise to change seem hollow and without much substance. We have been forced to endure generations of racism, intolerance, discrimination and anti-Black racism from the HRP.

It seems that the HRP to this day is a hotbed of racism, and there is a strong need to clean house.

See also: Press release: DPAD expresses concerns about the proposed Halifax Regional Police street check apology

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