Nova Scotia

Police board to hear case of Halifax couple alleging mistreatment, racial profiling

The case of a Halifax couple who allege they were mistreated by police after being found in a local park after hours will be heard this week. The hearing had been on hold while the Nova Scotia Police Review Board decided if it had jurisdiction after the Halifax Regional Police missed a filing deadline.

Adam LeRue and Kerry Morris say they were stopped by police after being in a park after hours

Adam LeRue says he was mistreated and racially profiled by two Halifax Regional Police officers. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

A Halifax couple who say they were mistreated and racially profiled by police after being found at a local park after hours will have their case heard by the Nova Scotia Police Review Board this week.

Adam LeRue, who is Black, said he and his wife stopped in the parking lot of Sir Sanford Fleming Park on Feb. 12, 2018, to make a phone call when two officers with the Halifax Regional Police pulled up behind them.

LeRue said he was taken to jail for the night, fined and charged with obstruction of justice, while other people who were in the area were not punished.

His wife, Kerry Morris, who is white, alleged she was also mistreated by police when they removed her from the couple's vehicle. 

Lawyers for constables Brent Woodworth and Kenneth O'Brien argued the police board no longer had jurisdiction to hear the complaint because Halifax Regional Police didn't submit its findings to the Nova Scotia Police Complaints Commissioner within six months as required. 

Review board hearing delayed

The hearing was put on hold while the review board made a decision on the matter. 

The board recently determined it has jurisdiction to hear the complaint. The hearing is scheduled to take place Thursday in Enfield, N.S.

In its decision, the board noted the importance of the review process.

"It responds to public mistrust surrounding 'police policing the police,' This has always been an important goal but is brought into sharp focus in the current climate of what seems to be public distrust of the police. It is surely as important to police departments as it is to members of the public," it said.

The board also pointed out in its decision that the time frame for filing a complaint against the police will be extended to one year as of Jan. 15, 2021.

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.