A Nova Scotia Police Review Board appeal hearing for two Halifax Regional Police officers accused of racial bias continues Monday after being adjourned for nearly a year.
Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella was expected to testify last December on the fourth day of the appeal hearing into a complaint by Kayla Borden against members of Halifax police when the hearing was suddenly adjourned. The hearing was supposed to continue in January this year.
In an interview with the Halifax Examiner on Sunday, Borden said she doesn’t believe Kinsella is scheduled to testify at the hearing this week and that he’ll likely testify at a later date.
Borden said five of the other officers who were present when she was arrested are expected to testify this week.
“I feel like these officers need to take accountability for their actions,” Borden said. “This happens to too many people, especially in the Black community where to make these wrongful arrests and there’s no accountability for it. They just get slapped on the wrist and move on with their job.”
Constables Scott Martin and Jason Meisner were the arresting officers on July 28, 2020, when Borden’s car was stopped at a Burnside intersection in the wee hours of the morning.
Borden’s grey Dodge Avenger was mistaken for a black Pontiac without a licence plate driven by a white man in a black baseball cap that Cst. Stewart McCulley had spotted earlier in Halifax.
McCulley briefly pursued the vehicle before it sped off. He was then instructed to end the pursuit.
Borden said she saw who she thinks was the first officer to initially spot her car while she was still in Halifax on her way home to Dartmouth.
“I pulled over because he had his lights on, so he passed me, so he seen who I was. I pretty sure he seen I was a Black person when he drove by,” Borden said during her interview with the Examiner on Sunday. “So, for them to say they didn’t think that I was Black before they pulled me over, but the officer that drove past me obviously seen that I was a Black female.”
Another officer spotted Borden’s car and mistook it for the car McCully described. Several officers pursued Borden from a distance before pulling her over, placing her in handcuffs and arresting her.
Borden was not read her rights and said when she asked why she was being arrested she was told, “We’ll see in a minute.”
Half a dozen police officers were on the scene when McCully pulled up, saw it was the wrong car and had a licence plate, unlike the one he described pursuing. He relayed the information to the dispatch, and drove off without speaking to Borden or the other officers.
The police took the handcuffs off Borden and told her she was no longer under arrest, but they continued to detain her while they recorded her licence and registration information into their database.
After initially being told there was no record of her arrest, Borden filed a complaint.
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Borden said it was not her wish to limit the scope of her complaint to just constables Martin and Meisner, but that the decision was made unilaterally by Sgt. Jonathan Jefferies, who investigated the complaint.
The complaint was dismissed by Insp. Derrick Boyd in his former role as officer-in-charge of the Professional Standards Division.
Borden appealed that decision.
Borden, Martin, and Meisner were present with their lawyers and a city lawyer representing the Halifax Regional Police during the first days of the appeal hearing last December.
The hearing heard testimony from Borden, McCully, and constables Andrew Nicholson, Jeffery Pulsifer, and Andrew Joudrey, who were present when Borden was arrested.
Police lawyer Andrew Gough attempted to get subpoenas quashed for then inspector, now superintendent, Boyd, and Halifax Police Chief Dan Kinsella to testify at the hearing.
The review board agreed to quash Boyd’s subpoena but upheld Kinsella’s.
The hearing is scheduled for four days, starting today at 9:30am at Best Western Plus Dartmouth.