"If we don't name it as racism, we don't deal with it," says senator of street check stats
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"If we don't name it as racism, we don't deal with it," says senator of street check stats

Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, professor at Dalhousie University (Handout/Dalhousie University)

HALIFAX – A Nova Scotia senator says the African Nova Scotian community is not surprised by statistics that show they are three times more likely to be street checked by Halifax Regional Police than others.

Numbers released earlier this week by the Halifax Regional Police show that in Halifax, a black person is three times more likely to be stopped by an officer than a white person.

“Whether you call it street checking or a form of racial profiling, it all amounts to the same sort of surveillance that many people of African descent experience on a daily basis,” said Senator Dr. Wanda Thomas Bernard.

The police street check statistics show black people represent 20 per cent of the stops, even though the African Nova Scotian community only makes up about 4 per cent of the population of Halifax.

By contrast, white people account for around 70 per cent of the checks, while being the overwhelming majority of Halifax’s population at over 90 per cent.

“Let’s look at this,” said Bernard. “What does this mean; what does this tell us? And most importantly: What does this tell us about unconscious bias and how that finds its way into policing, and what do we do about it? How do we change it? If we don’t name it as racism we don’t ever deal with it”

Regional Police are looking into the numbers, and would not commit to ending the practice of street checks. However, HRP Research Coordinator Dr. Chris Giocamontonio said he was concerned by the statistics, particularly the consistency across the municipality.


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Madam Senator, You are exactly right.
If society doesn’t demand that racism is not the basis of community policing, then when will society draw a line as to the conduct of their police?

When Chief Blais says, ” before we make a decision with regards to a moratorium[on street checks]… we need to have the facts behind it”, society should be shocked that their police chief is not ashamed of the conduct of his officers.

I have to ask, what possible missing fact would justify the use of racial profiling by the police? If his officers were found to be systematically beating suspects would society be satisfied with a, lets see if the beating work before we ban their use answer by their Police Chief?

January 11, 2017 at 8:32 am

@yup yup:

Do tell Yup Yup. Where does crime happen?
Who does call for police?
Who has been accused.convicted of murder?

And do those people deserve to be subjected to discrimination by the police?

Don’t keep us in suspense, Yup.

January 11, 2017 at 2:29 pm