What do we have to do to end this?
Toronto’s Globe and Mail published “Boxer takes another shot at banning street checks” in its April 13 edition. Kirk Johnson, a 1990s Olympic boxer, was pulled over in 1998 by a white Halifax police officer and his Ford Mustang was impounded as a result.
Why? He was black, and Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Commission later agreed. Mr. Johnson had filed a human rights complaint, and after five years, the decision exposed racial bias in the Halifax-area police and mandated change.
“The rights commission’s order that police collect street check data and analyze it for racial bias fell by the wayside for more than a dozen years. Although police collected the data, no analysis was done until media inquired about it in 2016,” the Globe reported.
An independent academic report released last month looked at police data for a 12-year span from 2006 to 2017 showing the equivalent of two street checks for every black person living in the Halifax area compared to only one street check for every three white people. The report found that blacks in Halifax are still stopped five to six times more than whites.
Kirk Johnson reluctantly jumped back into the controversy, feeling as if he’d been slapped in the face. “To realize you do this work to help the situation and the situation isn’t getting better…..the bottom line is racism is a bad disease. It’s destroying a lot or people, white and black. In order for us to live in harmony, that type of stuff has got to go.”
We reminded the Halifax police chief in an April 16 note that street checks……’carding’……is code for police state.
A few days after the press ran the results of the analysis of police data, Nova Scotia’s justice minister ordered a ‘moratorium’ on street checks of pedestrians.
Over and over and over we are challenged and dared. People….each of us, all of us….must stand up, speak up, and act up…. or the bullies will have their way.