KENTVILLE, N.S. – A reservist accused of using an inappropriate term for a black co-worker’s hair and of later striking a supervisor has been found not guilty.
The Aug. 3 court martial decision was announced in a news release issued by the military today.
Cpl. Garett Rollman was charged with striking his superior officer and two charges of “conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline” arising out of an incident involving himself and another worker in the kitchen at the military base in Aldershot, N.S.
During his court martial, military judge Cmdr. Sandra Sukstorf heard contrasting views from witnesses on whether Rollman’s use of the word “nappy” to describe Cheryl Richard’s hair was intended as a racial slur.
Richard argued it was meant to be derisive, but a black, non-commissioned officer who works with both kitchen staff said he believed Rollman was attempting to explain a video he and Rollman’s black girlfriend had been watching about black hair.
Another co-worker testified during the trial that she’d heard a supervising, non-commissioned officer shout “Don’t you hit me!” but she hadn’t actually witnessed Rollman hitting his superior.