N.S. police officer, wife launching complaint for 'driving while Black' stop by RCMP

·2 min read

HALIFAX — A Halifax police superintendent and his wife, a lawyer, are launching a complaint alleging the RCMP stopped their vehicle and ordered the officer out at gunpoint based on racial profiling.

Dean Simmonds, a 20-year-veteran of the Halifax police, and Angela Simmonds, a lawyer who was acclaimed this week as the provincial Liberal candidate for Preston, say the incident they call "driving while Black" occurred as they were on their way to buy groceries in their community of Preston at about 12:30 p.m. on July 4.

Angela Simmonds, reached by telephone, declined further comment but said she and her husband stand by the details they provided in a news release today from the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition.

The coalition quotes the couple as saying when they were stopped, one of the Mounties ordered the 45-year-old police superintendent, who was wearing plain clothes, out of the vehicle with his hands up, while the other officer pointed a carbine rifle in his direction.

It was only after several minutes, once Dean Simmonds managed to explain who he was, that the two officers told the couple there had been a report of shots fired in the area, though the release says the RCMP officers did not say whether the couple fit the description of the suspects.

Angela Simmonds says in the release the case was an example of the way Black people continue "to be subjected to inhumane treatment and are regarded as dangerous, dishonest, guilty criminals."

The release calls the incident "another brutal reminder of the broader problem of systemic racism within the RCMP, and it further erodes the trust between police and Black communities in Nova Scotia."

The couple say they intend to file a complaint with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission "and want a full investigation into the incident."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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