Nova Scotia

Woman who says she was racially profiled by Halifax police encourages others to speak out

About 100 people gathered at a Halifax park on Friday to show solidarity with a Dartmouth, N.S., woman who says she was racially profiled by police last month.

A rally was held in solidarity with Kayla Borden on Friday

Kayla Borden, a local music and arts promoter from from Dartmouth, N.S., says she was racially profiled by Halifax Regional Police during the early hours of July 28. (Elizabeth Chiu)

About 100 people gathered at a Halifax park on Friday to show solidarity with a Dartmouth, N.S., woman who says she was racially profiled by police last month.

"We've been fighting this for a very long time," Kayla Borden, a local music and arts promoter, told CBC Nova Scotia News At Six at Murray Warrington Park on Friday.

"...[Halifax Regional Police] don't realize that they continue to do this to us and a lot of it goes unreported. I feel like people feel ashamed or like nothing is going to be done, but I feel like we need to speak up because something has to be done and it needs to start now."

Borden said she was racially profiled by Halifax Regional Police officers in the early morning hours of July 28 when her vehicle was surrounded by five or six police vehicles with their flashing lights on.

About 100 people attended the rally in Murray Warrington Park on Friday to show solidarity with Borden. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

She said she was approached by two white officers who later handcuffed her without providing a reason.

After an officer explained they had actually been pursuing a white man in a high-speed chase, Borden said she was let go. But they still took her information.

She submitted a complaint to Halifax police later that day. 

"I'm still waiting for information. I've gotten some of the police officers' names, but I'm still waiting for the incident report to be released to me," she said. 

The rally was held on Friday afternoon — exactly a month after the incident — to encourage healing for Borden, as well as for others who've had similar experiences with police.

Borden, right, is shown with her friend, Samm Reid, left, at the rally on Friday. (CBC)

Samm Reid, a friend of Borden who helped organize the event, said the community must make time for healing.

"We know [that] what we've been facing for a long time here is not right. We know that. We've been loud about that and it's amazing," Reid said.

"But at the same time, do we focus on healing enough? ...We can't keep mobilizing together, talking about trauma and not having a healing piece, so let's continue to do this in our own circles with each other."

Borden said she appreciates the support she received and hopes the Halifax police are listening and are held accountable.

People rallied alongside Borden, calling for justice after she says she was unjustly arrested in July. (CBC)

"Maybe these police officers need to lose their jobs. I have to deal with this for the rest of my life," she said.

She said she also wants the Halifax Regional Police to ensure that all officers take anti-racism training that addresses anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.

On Friday, a spokesperson with the Halifax Regional Police said the complaint is being "thoroughly investigated."

"We recognize the importance of training and continue to look at ways to evolve our programs to be more responsive to community concerns and needs. Any actions will [be] determined by the investigation," said Wendy Mansfield, a communications advisor with the Halifax police.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

With files from Elizabeth Chiu

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