Symonds v. Halifax Regional Municipality Board of Inquiry Decision
An independent human rights board of inquiry has found that a Halifax man was discriminated against by police when ticketed for jaywalking.
Board chair Benjamin Perryman released his decision today, May 5. In it, he describes the interactions between Gyasi Symonds and two Halifax Regional Police officers, finding that Mr. Symonds was discriminated against on the basis of his race and/or colour.
Mr. Perryman found that Const. Paul Cadieux and Const. Steve Logan targeted Mr. Symonds on the morning of Jan. 24, 2017, because he is Black. Mr. Perryman describes two separate interactions between police and Mr. Symonds that were initiated when Mr. Symonds was observed jaywalking on Gottingen Street in Halifax. During the first interaction, police talked to Mr. Symonds about why people should not jaywalk and he was free to go. In the second interaction, he was confronted at his nearby workplace and ticketed.
Mr. Perryman found that Mr. Symonds should not have been ticketed and has ordered that Halifax Regional Police pay Mr. Symonds $15,232 in general damages and compensation for “injury to his dignity, feelings and self-respect.”
Mr. Perryman found that the training provided to Const. Cadieux and Const. Logan by Halifax Regional Police was inadequate and contributed to their discriminatory behavior. He suggests that all new police hires “successfully complete training in legitimate and bias-free policing before they commence active duty, and all current police officers should be required to retake and successfully complete such training periodically.” He also says this training should be well-documented and access to statistics should be publicly available.