Case against Santina Rao moving forward despite calls for charges to be dropped

Rao says she went to the hospital after she was released from custody and was diagnosed with a broken wrist and concussion. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service says it will not be dropping charges against the woman accused of assaulting police officers despite “numerous email requests from the public” to do so.

Santina Rao alleges she was racially profiled and physically abused by Halifax Regional Police after she was accused of “concealing items” at Walmart on Jan. 15.

Rao says she purchased electronics in one section of the store and was on her way to ring in some produce when she was stopped.

She said she tried to show the officers her receipts, but the situation escalated.

Nova Scotia’s police watchdog has announced it will investigate the incident, which Rao says left her with a broken wrist, a concussion and injuries to her neck and arms.

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The Crown says that investigation has not yet concluded.

Rao is charged with disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer in connection with the incident.

Click to play video: 'Retired police officer calls for fair and open investigation into police involvement in Santina Rao assault'
Retired police officer calls for fair and open investigation into police involvement in Santina Rao assault

In a news release Thursday, the province’s Public Prosecution Service said a decision to pursue or halt a prosecution cannot be based on requests from the public and the Crown “does not argue cases through the media.”

“Under Canadian law, decisions regarding a prosecution must be based on an assessment by the Crown attorney of the available evidence and established legal principles supporting the exercise of prosecutorial discretion,” the statement reads.

Rao’s next court appearance is scheduled for July. She last appeared in court back in February.

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— With files from Alexa MacLean. 

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