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News brief: Santina Rao to appear in court on Wednesday

Screenshot from video taken at Walmart.

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Santina Rao, the young Black mother violently attacked by Halifax Regional Police officers in front of her two small children, is set to appear in court tomorrow.

She is charged with causing a disturbance, assault causing bodily harm to an officer, and resisting arrest.

Her ordeal started when she was accused of stealing some fruit at the Walmart on Mumford Road in Halifax, even though she never left the store premises. Shoplifting is not among the charges she is facing.

Rather than deescalate the situation HRP Const. David Clowater, Const. Josh Alarie and a third unnamed officer, slammed Santina to the ground, causing her to suffer a concussion and a broken wrist.   

The Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), an independent body tasked with investigating violent incidents such as Santina’s, has only just started a review of the altercation. 

A February 10 story by Chronicle Herald reporter Andrew Rankin quotes Dalhousie law professor Wayne MacKay as being critical of the charges being laid before the SIRT investigation is concluded.

“It seems to me that it would be hard for anybody, including the Crown, to make a reasonable determination of whether they should go forward with the charges until they had some idea of what the conclusion was as to the conduct of the officers,” MacKay told the Chronicle Herald.

Santina’s case will be heard tomorrow morning, Wednesday February 19, at 10 AM, at the Halifax Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road.

Supporters of Santina, via a Facebook event, are asking people to attend the court case in solidarity with Santina. There is also a petition asking that the charges be dropped.

See also: Protesters rally at Walmart in support of Santina Rao

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