Police Review Board dismisses complaint alleging racial profiling in Dartmouth arrest

·2 min read
Kayla Borden made a complaint in 2020 alleging she was racial profiled by Halifax Regional Police. The Nova Scotia Police Review Board reviewed the case and agreed with the original internal police report that found no wrongdoing on the part of the officers involved. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Kayla Borden made a complaint in 2020 alleging she was racial profiled by Halifax Regional Police. The Nova Scotia Police Review Board reviewed the case and agreed with the original internal police report that found no wrongdoing on the part of the officers involved. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia's Police Review Board has dismissed a complaint made by Kayla Borden who says she was wrongfully arrested and racially profiled by police officers in July 2022.

The decision is dated May 12 and was provided to CBC by Borden's lawyer on Tuesday.

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Borden is a Black woman who says she was racially profiled when Halifax Regional Police pulled her over while she was driving, told her she was under arrest and briefly handcuffed her early in the morning of July 28, 2020.

Police said they were looking for a vehicle that had fled a traffic stop in Bedford at the time.

An earlier internal investigation by the police found no wrongdoing on the parts of Const. Jason Meisner and Const.  Scott Martin.

Borden appealed that decision to the Police Board of Review, an independent board set up by appointment of the provincial justice minister and funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Justice.

Testimony in the case was heard by the police board in November 2022 and in January 2023. Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella was one of the witnesses.

Officers acted appropriately

In its written decision, the board said the officers at the scene acted appropriately and there was evidence from police radio broadcasts that Borden's vehicle was being driven without lights. Borden denied she was driving without lights.

Borden was released "within less than a minute of the stop"  the board decision said..

With regard to Borden's belief that the pursuit and arrest were the result of "actual or systemic racial bias," the board found that the officers were not aware of the race or gender of the driver until they "arrived at the side of her car."

"With her strong conviction of police racism, she refuses to accept the rationale behind the events of that night even with full and clear tested evidence," the decision said.

"There is not an iota of evidence that conscious or unconscious racial bias/systemic racism had anything to do with the pursuit and arrest of July 28, 2020."

In dismissing the complaint, the board said it would hear arguments on costs later.

'Devastating'

Reacting to the decision on Tuesday, Borden said it was "devastating."

"I was in front of an all-white presenting police board and they cannot relate to my experience as a a Black woman," Borden said.

"I'm still processing everything right now, so it's hard to really put things in words."

Borden was represented by Asaf Rashid. Nasha Nijhawan was counsel for the officers and Andrew Gough was counsel for the Halifax Regional Police in the hearing.

In a written statement on Tuesday, Borden's lawyer said his client may proceed with a judicial review of the decision.

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.

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