I went to the community meeting in the Halifax North End, called by the Human Rights Commission, to talk about police street checks. The overall consensus: Halifax police behaviour is often racist, the practice of carding itself is racist, and the community is tired of having to tell white people this over and over without anything ever substantially changing for the better.
Now with a more appropriate headline, and a rectification! Recently 25 African Nova Scotian organizations called for an immediate halt of police street checks anywhere in the province. The Nova Scotia NDP continues to stop short of calling for such a moratorium.
Recently more than 25 African Nova Scotian organizations in a joint statement asked that the practice of police street checks be stopped immediately. The NS Human Rights Commission meanwhile has claimed African Nova Scotian support for the analysis it is conducting. When asked who these supporters are the Commission essentially tells me that it is none of my business.
It took a while, but with the hiring of criminologist Dr Scot Wortley the analysis of Halifax carding data can finally begin. I went to the Board of Police Commissioners to get the details, and for a bonus finally got to ask Chief Blais why police collected race-based stats for ten years, but in all that time never looked at them.
The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has finally hired a data expert to analyse police check data within HRM. That was the bit of news delivered by Halifax Regional Police chief Jean Michel Blais at this Monday’s Halifax Board of Police Commissioners meeting. That’s eight months after a Freedom of Information request revealed that Black Haligonians are three times more likely to be subjected to police checks than white people. Eight months is way too slow.
None of the provincial political parties is demonstrating the leadership necessary to stop carding in our province. Even the NDP is not endorsing the immediate moratorium on the racist practice that was requested by prominent members of the African Nova Scotian community.
Solidarity Halifax is asking Nova Scotians to join members of the Black community who want to see an immediate moratorium on the racist practice of carding in Halifax and all of Nova Scotia. Here is how it works.
A long interview with Robert Wright, one of the African Nova Scotians who earlier this year demanded that the practice of carding be suspended. We talked with Wright about why carding generates such anger among Black Nova Scotians, the over surveillance of Black communities by police, the white indifference to the issue, how anger at police better be directed at politicians, and why carding is ineffective. More than anything we talked about racism.
Six months after members of the Black community in Halifax requested a suspension of the practice of carding, as well as an investigation, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission still has not hired the data expert it suggests is necessary. That expert is required to determine whether racial profiling explains why Black people in HRM are three times more likely to be stopped than white people, says the Commission. Meanwhile the racist practice of carding continues, and the deadline for completion of the investigation is a moving target.
An interim report presented by Halifax Regional Police chief J.M. Blais at the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners today suggests carding is necessary to effectively fight crime, and that too many Ontario-like checks and balances will kill the practice.