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The Santina Rao SIRT report is nothing but a smear campaign

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – It’s ok to violently assault a young Black mother, as long as she gets upset when she is accused of shoplifting. 

That’s  the conclusion of the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) report on the arrest of Santina Rao at the Walmart in Halifax in January.

All kinds of innuendo that have nothing to do with what ultimately transpired are referenced in a section of the report entitled “facts”. 

“The AP (accused person) was on her phone for some time while in thetoy section. The tone of her conversation quickly alternated between normal and yelling.”

Having observed her demeanor while on her phone together with the presence of children, they were concerned about how she would react to being arrested.”

“SOl (subject officer 1) entered the store and approached the AP (accused person) who was still on her phone. He asked the AP to get off her phone as he wanted to speak with her. The AP was polite and did so. She asked what this was about, and SOl replied by asking her if she had any concealed items in the stroller because that was what had been reported to him. Although he did not accuse her of theft, the AP immediately began to curse and shout about being accused of stealing.”

There you have it. 

Fact 1: Speaking loudly on the phone is highly suspicious

Fact 2: Speaking loudly on the phone together with the presence of children warrants calling the cops. 

Fact 3: When cops ask about concealed items they’re not at all accusing you of stealing. Two very different things.

The report continues on like this for quite a bit. You can read it here. It’s nothing but a smear campaign.

The true facts are simple.

Police accused Santina of shoplifting, and when she became upset as a result they arrested Santina in front of her children. During the arrest she suffered a concussion, a black eye, and what SIRT calls a “minimally displaced” fracture of her left wrist, a.k.a. a broken wrist that required treatment at the QE2.

There was no reason to accuse her of shoplifting when she never left the store. There was no reason to arrest her. There was no reason to use violence. 

However, there were plenty of reasons to deescalate the situation. For starters, Santina has not committed any crime, Black people are falsely accused of shoplifting all the time, and Santina was accompanied by her young children. 

I’ve read some bad reports by SIRT, and I read almost all of them, but this one takes the price. 

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

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