A Dartmouth, N.S., woman says she was racially profiled by Halifax Regional Police officers during an arrest early Tuesday morning.
Kayla Borden, a local musician and music promoter, said she was driving home from her cousin's home in Bedford around 1 a.m. AT Tuesday when a police vehicle pulled up beside her near the intersection of Seapoint and Windmill roads in Dartmouth.
Once she stopped, she said five or six police vehicles surrounded her with their flashing lights on.
"I was terrified ... This broke my legal rights as a law-abiding citizen ... and no Black, Indigenous, woman, man or child should have to go through this," said Borden.
She said two white officers approached her and yelled at her to put her hands on the steering wheel. She said she did, but was then told to get out of the car.
Borden said her window was rolled down and an officer reached in and opened the door, pulled her out and told her she was under arrest.
"I didn't know what was going on. I froze up," she said.
Borden said she was taken to the back of her car and was handcuffed. She said she then asked why she was being arrested.
"The cop that arrested me told me: 'We will see in a minute.'"
Borden said another officer approached her and asked if she knew why she was pulled over. She said no.
Borden said she was told her vehicle's lights were off while she was driving on the Bedford Highway. She said that wasn't true.
"Then he moved on to the next excuse and was like, 'You didn't pull over when I had my [flashing] lights on,'" she said.
Borden told the officer that she didn't see any flashing lights from the police vehicle. She did see flashing lights behind her when she was on the Bedford Highway about five minutes prior, but the vehicle passed her.
She said the officer asked what kind of car she was driving and she said a Dodge Avenger.
Borden said that's when the officer told her that they had been pursuing a white man in a Toyota during a "high-speed chase."
I was being arrested, handcuffed and questioned without any laws being broken or any clear communication on why I was being detained. - Kayla Borden
"I responded to him and told him I was driving an Avenger and obviously, I'm not a white man" she said.
The officers then told her that she was no longer under arrest, but they still took her information, including her licence and registration.
"They came over and basically was like, 'I'm sorry about that. Have a good night,'" she said.
That morning, Borden went to Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Gottingen Street to ask if they had any record of the night's incident or the high-speed chase.
She was told there was no record of either, but was given the number to the East Division in Dartmouth.
"They said the exact same thing to me," she said.
It was only after a friend of Borden's spoke with the detachment that they found an incident number and the name of the investigating officer, which was given to Borden.
A 2019 report on racial profiling revealed that Black people in Halifax were six times more likely to be street checked than white people. Street checks allow police officers to document information about a person they believe could be of significance to a future investigation, and record details such as their ethnicity, gender, age and location.
Later that year, street checks were banned in Nova Scotia and police Chief Dan Kinsella issued a historic apology to the Black community, acknowledging the institutional racism within the police that made Black men, women and children fearful of police.
Halifax Regional Police confirmed Tuesday evening that a report has been issued related to Borden's incident.
"We are aware of the events that occurred on July 28 involving our officers ... Due to the ongoing investigation we are not able to provide further comments at this time," Const. Dylan Jackman said in a emailed statement Wednesday.
Borden has since filed a formal complaint with Halifax police.
"I was being arrested, handcuffed and questioned without any laws being broken or any clear communication on why I was being detained," she said.
Borden said she wants the Halifax Regional Police to ensure that all officers take anti-racism training that addresses anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. She also would like to see police detachments be relocated outside of Black and marginalized communities.
"They do not deserve to be in our communities because they do not know how to treat us," she said.
Borden also requested that the city defund the Halifax police, with the money being redirected to community development programs
Borden wants to warn others after her experience with police.
"They don't care about the impact of the harm and violence they bring to Black and Indigenous bodies," she said.
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