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Protesters rally at Walmart in support of Santina Rao

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KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – On what surely must have been the coldest day this winter some 150 people came out to rally at the Mumford Road Walmart in support of Santina Rao. 

Some protesters rallied and listened to speeches outside, while a smaller group chanted and marched through the store.

Santina is the young mother who was racially profiled by Walmart and violently arrested by some four Halifax Regional Police officers in front of her two little kids. Never mind that she never left the store, never mind that we are talking about a head of lettuce, some grapefruit and a lemon or two. 

See also: False accusations and violent arrest by Halifax police lead to injuries, Black woman reports

Meanwhile Santina is left humiliated in public, bruised and with a broken wrist. As well, she faces a charge of resisting arrest.

Neither police nor Walmart have said much, and SIRT, our so called police watchdog, is considering launching an investigation.

Trouble with these SIRT reviews is that they seldom find any wrongdoing in these cases. SIRT checks to see if these arrests were made by the book, but unfortunately that book doesn’t have any chapters on de-escalation.

See also: Questions remain in death of mental health patient following arrest

The other thing to keep in mind is that Santina’s story actually made the news, and that’s a rare thing. For every Santina there are so many similar cases of racial targeting and police intimidation and needless violence that we never hear about, except maybe some chatting on Facebook. It’s such an uphill battle to find justice in these cases.

Santina is already paying a price, maligned from many Facebook corners. On the NS Advocate site as well I have been reading and deleting some incredibly racist comments. 

Santina is to be commended for her courage, and we must continue to support her. 

See also: It sure looks like Halifax police continues to harass Black Nova Scotians

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One Comment

  1. Kendall Worth here:

    I beelvie that SIRT/ and the the police, our so called police watchdog, is considering launching an investigation also needs something in their book that says “when in the event minor children are in the care of anyone being arrested for any reason” either a worker from child protection services has to be accompanying the police at the time the arrest is happening or police has to accommodate allowing the person who is under a arrest, allow that person supervised time for that person to at least make a couple of phone calls at arrange immediate childcare. As some of you reading this comment know, I am one of the other writers for the Nova Scotia Advocate. I have actually gotten comments from some of my readers of my stuff I write about saying that “the fact that either the Wall-Mart staff or police officers present did not even seem to note that at the exact time this happened small minor children were in her care”. This factor was actually upsetting to some of my personal community of readership. It must have been awful for those kids to see their being put in handcuff, to have to go with their mom in a police vechical downtown to the police station and to watch their mom go through the booking process.

    Moving forward lets hope the charges get dropped and she gets apologizes from both Wall-Mart Staff and Police.

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