After street checks were determined to be illegal in October 2019, Mark Furey, the Justice minister at the time, put a stop to the practice. Case closed, you might think. Time to move on. Unfortunately no, says Vanessa Fells of the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition (ANSDPAD).
News release: Thirteen community organizations call on government to ban illegal practice on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. After countless reviews, reports and public meetings, the Nova Scotia government finally directed police to end the practice in October of 2019. But there was a glaring exception to the directive: police were still permitted to conduct street checks if they judged that an individual was involved in “suspicious activity.”
We don’t really know what’s happening with the Wortley recommendation that race data be collected on all police interactions with civilians, and that’s not good.
If you’re African Nova Scotian and live or work in Halifax, Dartmouth or the surrounding area then Jessica Bundy would very much like to talk with you about policing. Bundy is a young African Nova Scotian academic working on a project on the African Nova Scotian experiences with policing in Halifax and urban Nova Scotia.
PSA: “I am interested in hearing more about African Nova Scotians’ experiences with policing, including how they felt about the street check inquiry and ban, and how their experiences with police impact their lives.”
Judy Haiven on what she learned teaching a two-day workshop on sexual harassment and sexual assault to new RCMP recruits in Regina in the nineties. It didn’t go well…
It would be good to know how many African Nova Scotians are being targeted as police get more aggressive in enforcing COVID-19 regulations, and how that number compares to the white population. It was exactly to answer these questions that Dr. Wortley recommended that the police track race-based data on all interactions with citizens. However, we will never know, as work on that recommendation hasn’t even started.
A recent human rights case, launched by Gyasi Symonds after being racially profiled by Halifax police, is a showcase for all that is wrong with the way the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) deals with human rights complaints and complainants.
After Premier McNeil’s surprise apology for systemic racism in the justice system and the harm it has done, he announced the formation of a design team “to reimagine a system of justice in Nova Scotia”. We talk with Robert Wright, spokesperson for the DPAD coalition, to find out more about its proposals for an African Nova Scotian Justice Institute and a Policing Strategy, and to better understand its criticism of the provincial justice initiative.
On the evening of August 13, 2020, in my own neighbourhood, right outside of my children’s classroom, I witnessed a Halifax police officer accelerate his vehicle to make physical contact with a woman, temporarily throwing her off balance. Vehicular assault. From a block away I could hear her pleading with the officer to leave her alone up until that point. After stumbling momentarily she asked the officer why he’d done that and then used the phrase “Black Lives Matter”. My heart raced.