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Ticketing of Black man for jaywalking was racial discrimination: human rights board

Click to play video: 'Report finds perceptions of racial bias persist in criminal justice system' Report finds perceptions of racial bias persist in criminal justice system
In the wake of last summer's Black Lives Matter protests and calls to de-fund the police, a new report by the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers has found that racism and racial bias exists in the criminal justice system - and that little change has been made. Nadia Stewart reports – Feb 15, 2021

A human rights board of inquiry has found that a Black man was discriminated against by Halifax police when he was ticketed for jaywalking.

Board chairman Benjamin Perryman released a decision today that finds Gyasi Symonds faced discrimination based on his race when he was stopped by two officers and later ticketed in the lobby of the downtown building where he works.

In his ruling, the board chairman describes two encounters between Symonds and constables Paul Cadieux and Steve Logan that started when the income assistance worker was observed jaywalking on Gottingen Street on Jan. 24, 2017.

The decision says the officers first stopped Symonds after he went to a coffee shop across from his office without using a crosswalk at the corner, warning him about jaywalking and telling him he was free to go.

The decision says the facts of what happened next were disputed, with Symonds telling the board he crossed at the corner when he returned to his office and the two police officers saying they observed him again crossing in the middle of the block.

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Perryman found in his ruling that he found it “more likely than not” that Symonds didn’t jaywalk on his return trip and concluded the officers’ decision to wait and observe the man was based in part on race.

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