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Nova Scotia still no closer to setting date for street checks apology

Click to play video: 'Arrest of 15-year-old raises questions over police commitment to Halifax’s Black community'
Arrest of 15-year-old raises questions over police commitment to Halifax’s Black community
WATCH: Halifax community organizers say the violent arrest of another Black Nova Scotian raises questions over the Halifax Regional Police’s commitment to righting historic wrongdoings against the community. Elizabeth McSheffrey brings us that story – Feb 24, 2020

Nova Scotia is still no closer to setting a date for an apology to the African Nova Scotian community for the practice of street checks in the province.

Justice Minister Mark Furey reiterated on Wednesday that there is an appropriate time and venue for an apology, but didn’t say when or where that may be.

The provincial government committed to an apology following the release of a report that found street checks, which involved police officer randomly stopping people and collecting personal information — disproportionately targeting the Black community.

The Wortley Report, produced by criminologist Scot Wortley, analyzed data from the Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP and concluded that Black citizens five times more likely to be street-checked than white citizens.

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The province implemented a permanent moratorium on the practice of street checks in October after an independent legal opinion found the practice to be illegal.

Halifax Regional Police chief Dan Kinsella issued an apology for the force’s role in the practice in November, saying it was the first step in countering a series of historic wrongdoings.

But the province has been less forthcoming with an apology, despite a promise to act on the Wortley Report.

Click to play video: 'Halifax police formally apologize to NS black community for street checks, racial profiling'
Halifax police formally apologize to NS black community for street checks, racial profiling

Furey said on Wednesday that work is happening in the background.

“This year with the participation of those from the African Nova Scotian community and justice stakeholders we will develop an African Nova Scotian justice plan that will shape those expectations and work that we feel is essential going forward,” he said.

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“We have to rebuild the relationship between our African Nova Scotian Community and law enforcement community.”

Furey said that he is aware of allegations of racial bias against the Halifax Regional Police in the arrest of Santina Rao and a 15-year-old boy in Bedford in recent weeks.

The 15-year-old, who is not being identified, sustained injuries as he was arrested.

Rao, a 23-year-old mother who alleges she was racially profiled at a Walmart before being assaulted by Halifax Regional Police.

Both incidents were captured on video and are now under investigation by the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT), the province’s independent police watchdog.

The justice minister said he’s waiting for the SiRT investigations into the incidents to be completed before commenting.

With files from Elizabeth McSheffrey

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