Tuesday, 23 July 2019

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?

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.

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.