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.
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.
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.
With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.
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