Kayla Borden gives a peace sign
Kayla Borden. Photo: Matthew Byard

The lawyer of a young Black woman has started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for her appeal at the Nova Scotia Police Review Board.

In July 2020, Kayla Borden was driving home to Dartmouth after visiting a cousin in Bedford when she said she was pulled over, swarmed by six police officers, handcuffed, and placed under arrest before being released. Speaking with El Jones shortly following the incident, Borden said:

The lights [on the wagon] were not on, which I thought was weird, so I waited about 10 seconds, and then about 5-6 more cop cars came out of nowhere and swarmed me in the intersection from all directions.

Two white officers approached me. I couldn’t see if they had their guns out or not. They yelled, “Put your hands on the steering wheel.” I was so scared wondering what was going on. After I put my hands on the wheel, the same cop immediately started yelling at me to get out of the car.

I had my window rolled down, and he grabbed open my car door. He pulled me out of the car and told me “You’re under arrest.” They put me in handcuffs. I was asking, “For what?” He told me, “We will see in a minute.”

Borden said she was then told she had been driving without her lights on, to which she says she immediately disputed. She says one of the officers told her: “We were on a high speed chase with a white guy in a Toyota.” Borden was driving a Dodge Avenger.

After filing a complaint, an internal investigation in December 2020 found no wrongdoing on the part of the police. Borden has filed an appeal that is expected to be heard this December by the Nova Scotia Police Review Board.

This past June, Zane Woodford reported:

In December, the police finished their investigation. In the decision, HRP Inspector Derrick Boyd writes that Sgt. Jonathan Jefferies investigated the complaint against two officers — constables Scott Martin and Jason Meisner — and found neither of them acted improperly.

The decision lists seven other officers involved — constables Andrew Nicholson, Anil Rana, Sym Dewar, Andrew Joudrey, Jeffrey Pulsifer, Tanya Lambert, Stuart McCulley — but police didn’t consider their behaviour in the investigation, just the two arresting officers.

As Woodford reported, in a written submission, Borden’s lawyer, Devin Maxwell, argued the scope of the hearing should consider more than just the conduct of Martin and Meisner:

Although it is certainly that, Kayla’s complaint is not simply about a couple of police officers who failed at their jobs, and who acted cruelly and discourteously in the course of making an arrest. It’s about an entire police department with a long history of racial bias that seems unable, or unwilling, to make the changes necessary to fix the problem. It’s about stopping the racial profiling and victimization of Black Nova Scotians.

Last week, Maxwell started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal set at $25,000 to help Borden with her appeal. On the GoFundMe page, Maxwell wrote:

Kayla is prepared to stand up and take on the HRP’s systemic racism , but justice comes at a price.

Her lawyers have been working on her case pro bono for more than a year, but a Police Review Board appeal involves more time and resources. Kayla needs money to pay for legal fees and other expenses associated with her complaint.

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Matthew Byard writes news, profiles, and stories of the Black Nova Scotia community. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

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