Raymond Sheppard on the urgent need to fix systemic anti-Black racist bias in the courts and in policing.
The CBC reports that the number of street checks by Halifax Regional Police has decreased over the last two years. However, that decrease has mostly benefited white people. The likelihood a member of a visible minority will be subjected to a street check has increased relative to a white person’s chances.
“I conclude that random street checks, which take considerable time and effort for a police service to conduct, have little to no verifiable benefits relating to the level of crime or even arrests,” an Ontario judge concludes after an 11-months review, including extensive consultation with members of the Ontario Black, Indigenous and racialized communities, as well as police representatives.
This morning the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners got a preview of a report and recommendations about police checks and race, and it’s all super secret. Not good, I say.
It may not look that way, but poor Nova Scotia is just so very very racist.
Didn’t hear much about the police check study over the summer, but the NS Human Rights Commission recently launched an online survey asking all HRM residents about their encounters with police. We have long argued that what is needed is not yet another study, but an immediate stop to the racist practice, but maybe the survey has some redeeming qualities.
Four videos on carding in Halifax, made by then NS Community College journalism student Matt Brand, featuring former boxer Kirk Johnson, social worker Lana MacLean, CBC journalist Phlis McGregor, and several people who were street checked and didn’t like it at all. There’s more on the website he created.
As police street checks continue unabated in Halifax and all of Nova Scotia, members of the African Nova Scotian communities and their allies are collecting signatures for a petition asking that the racist practice be banned province-wide.
Reporter Robert “Broken Record” Devet went to the Board of Halifax Police Commissioners for an update on the police street check analysis. Here is his report.
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.