No apology will be forthcoming from Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and HRM RCMP for the damage inflicted on the African Nova Scotian community through the racist practice of street checks. This despite a unanimous motion by the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners that asked for such an apology.
I went to the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners meeting this afternoon when it recommended that street checks be suspended.. Afterwards I talked to some members of the African Nova Scotian community who think only a ban is good enough.
Ever since the Wortley report came out almost all the discussion has focused on street checks and whether to ban or regulate them.
What about rampant racism among the force as reported in Wortley’s community meetings? What about classism, sexism and ableism we continue to hear about? And why do we think the same old and tired recommendations are going to work this time?
PSA: There are no more studies needed. There is much work to be done to undo the layers of racism at play in the HPD. Banning street checks is only a start, but an absolutely necessary one. Let Minister Mark Furey know that we need to end the racist practice of street checks now.
I ask why it was journalists who revealed the racist bias of police street checks rather than the Board of Police Commissioners, whose job it is to oversee the Halifax police. Then I speculate on the answer. They’re worried that it will expose how powerless they really are.
Some 80 people attended a powerful community meeting, and several hundreds marched through downtown Halifax this afternoon, calling for an immediate and unconditional ban on the racist practice of police street checks.
The African Nova Scotian community is calling out to community members and allies to stand up and hit the streets in representation of support of the individuals affected by the practice of police street checks.
Public statement: “This report has strengthened the Coalition’s position that street checks are illegal and should be banned:”
Angela Bowden remembers growing up Black in rural Nova Scotia, and reflects on the enduring damage done by abusive police practices over the generations. “I vividly recall, as do many of my peer group, police officers slowly driving by us numerous times, following us as we walk, asking us our names, where we are going, where we are coming from, and who our parents were.”
Robert Wright’s full response to the Wortley report, as delivered at this morning’s press conference at the Central library on Spring Garden Road. Robert Wright spoke on behalf of the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition (DPAD), one of the organizations that long ago demanded a moratorium on the racist practice of police street checks.