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.
Ever since we found out about anti-Black bias in Halifax police street check practices the police department and municipal politicians have tried to make the issue go away. The hiring of an “expert” to determine whether there even is any bias at all is just the latest shameful example.
In April the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission announced that it is hiring an expert to determine whether racial profiling explains why Black people are more than three times more likely to be street checked than white people. Because there could be other reasons, apparently. Well, that investigation is already behind schedule, that expert still needs to be hired, and the Fall is the new July.
Halifax Regional Police is reluctant to say how secure the carding data it collects really is. Since this information is pretty private you’d think they’d be eager to assure the public that there is no reason to worry. But even a FOIPOP request hits a blue wall.
The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission is taking the lead in a narrow investigation into carding by Halifax police. An expert will be hired to determine if discrimination actually occurs. Meanwhile Black people will continue to be targeted.
An extensive report by highly respected Ontario criminologists argues that carding in North America does much more harm than good. One more reason why carding should stop in Halifax.
Any time police conduct a street check that information ends up in a database. We wondered how secure that data is, and discovered that Halifax Regional Police (HRP) is not very helpful.
Calvin Lawrence, a former Black police officer who served with Halifax City Police in the sixties and seventies, has been following the discussion about carding from his current residence in Ottawa. He’s not happy with the Chief’s stance, and draws on his own experiences as a cop on the Gottingen and Gerrish beat to explain why.
This weekend’s featured video is The Skin We’re In, by Desmond Cole and Charles Officer. A documentary about carding and profiling and racism by a Toronto journalist, but with a surprising amount of Nova Scotia content.