Boy injured in arrest at Bedford mall, police watchdog investigating
Officers involved have been placed on administrative duty pending investigation, police say
The mother of a 15-year-old boy who was arrested outside Bedford Place Mall on Friday night says her son recorded a video of the encounter because he believed he was being racially profiled.
Troylena Dixon's son, who is black, recorded a 23-second video of his encounter with police outside the mall and she posted it to her Facebook page. CBC News is not naming Dixon's son to protect his identity.
"I do think race was a factor here, but you know what? We don't like using the race card. It might not have been race, but because of what we've dealt with as a family with dealing with racism in Bedford, we can only assume it's been race," Dixon told CBC News.
The video begins with her son telling the officers, "I can go inside if I want to."
Then, one of the officers responds, "You'll get arrested."
The boy responds, "Really? For what? Speaking my mouth?"
The officer says something back, but it's unclear what is said.
The officers then approach the boy.
The officer says, "You're under arrest."
At that point, the video becomes shaky and turns to black.
The boy tells the officers, "Don't you touch me."
The officer says, "You're under arrest, don't move."
A scuffle can be heard in the video.
The boy says, "What are you doing?"
The officer repeats," You're under arrest, stop resisting."
The boy responds, "For what? For what?"
Dixon shared a photo on Facebook of her son that shows facial and hand injuries. She said her son suffered a concussion.
No charges have been laid against Dixon's son and he was eventually allowed to go home.
"This should never have happened to my son," Dixon said.
The two officers who were involved in the incident have been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation.
In a news release, Halifax Regional Police say they were called to Sunnyside Mall at about 7:30 p.m. regarding "an incident involving a male and female youth."
Two police officers responded and found the boy and girl at Bedford Place Mall, which is across the street.
'I just want justice for my son'
In the process of making an arrest, the boy "suffered an injury," according the release.
Halifax Regional Police did not specify why the boy was arrested or what incident led to police being called.
Dixon said her son and his friend were approached by a security guard at Sunnyside Mall and were told they were somewhere they weren't allowed to be.
She said her son questioned the security guard about why they were being followed around in the mall and asked if it was because he is black. After that, Dixon said the security guard called police.
Police have referred the case to Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), the province's police watchdog. On Monday, SIRT confirmed it has started an investigation into the arrest. SIRT said it is asking any witnesses to the incident to contact them.
Dixon says she and her son will be consulting with a lawyer and she does plan to file a complaint against the officers.
"I just want justice for my son," she said.
A report released in 2019 showed black people in the Halifax area were six times more likely to be street checked than white people. The practice of street checking was banned in Nova Scotia in October 2019.
Last month, Halifax Regional Police came under fire for their arrest of a young black mother at a Walmart. Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team is in the midst of investigating that incident as well.