Photos of Chief Dan Kinsella on the left and Kayla Borden on the right.

The Halifax Regional Police are objecting to a subpoena for Chief Dan Kinsella and Inspector of Professional Standards Derrick Boyd to appear before the Nova Scotia Police Review Board.

“Neither Insp. Boyd or Chief Kinsella responded to or were involved with the events of July 28, 2020,” said Andrew Gough, a lawyer for Halifax Regional Police.

On the night of July 28, 2020, Kayla Borden, a Black woman, said she was followed from Bedford to Burnside, pulled over, swarmed, and wrongfully arrested by half a dozen Halifax city police.

“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 told El Jones following the incident.

After disputing one of the officer’s claims that she had been driving with her light off at one point, Borden said the police told her they were on a high-speed chase with a white man in a Toyota.

“I drive a Dodge Avenger. And, obviously, I am not a white man,” she told Jones.

“Sorry, have a good night,” she said she was told after having her licence, registration, and insurance information recorded while she remained surrounded by police, after having already been released without charges.

In October of last year, Zane Woodford reported a number of obstacles, pushback, and delays Borden and her lawyer, Devin Maxwell, said they faced in filing a complaint and having it diligently investigated. The complaint was then dismissed. Borden and Maxwell have filed an appeal that is set to be heard in December.

Halifax Police Chief Can Kinsella and Insp. Derrick Boyd at a 2020 promotion ceremony. Chief Kinsella is on the left and in his uniform of a white shirt with black tie and badges. On the right is Inspector Boyd who is swearing a dark blue uniform with badges. He's holding a new badge that represents his promotion to inspector. Both men are standing in front of a blue backdrop with the Halifax Regional Police logos on it.
Halifax Police Chief Can Kinsella and Insp. Derrick Boyd at a 2020 promotion ceremony. Photo: Dan Kinsella / Twitter.

“HRP sees no basis or foundation for calling Insp. Boyd and Chief Kinsella,” Gough told Maxwell in an e-mail last week.

“The complaint was not broadened to somehow extend to the department as a whole, nor was the complaint expanded to include allegations against Insp. Boyd, or other witness officers.”

“With respect to Chief Kinsella, he has no direct involvement with this incident, and the only basis on which I imagine you are intending to call him is to advance an argument of departmental bias,” Gough wrote.

In his response, Maxwell thanked Gough for his objections, then wrote, “You have asked that the subpoenas to Insp. Boyd and Chief Kinsella be withdrawn. I am not compelled or inclined to do so.”

He continued saying, “Not only is Chief Kinsella eminently qualified to speak about the conduct of his officers and the policies and procedures of the Halifax Regional Police, he is the perfect person to speak to the racial bias that Ms. Borden alleges in her complaint. He has spoken on multiple occasions about racism and his department’s promises and efforts to combat it. He has made public promises to Nova Scotia’s Black Community. On one occasion, in November 2019, Chief Kinsella said: “We are committed to doing better moving forward. My hope is that today’s apology shows you our commitment to change and our promise to do better. This is going to be a journey and for the Halifax Regional Police, the journey starts today.”

Halifax Police honour African Heritage Month in a February 2021 Twitter post. Several officers with the Halifax Regional Police are standing on the steps of the police headquarters on Gottingen Street. The African Nova Scotia flag in red, green, and black stripes, is flying above them.
Halifax Police honour African Heritage Month in a February 2021 Twitter post.

“In our view, there couldn’t anyone more suitable to speak to why Ms. Borden was removed from her vehicle and arrested on 28 July 2020, and why the rank and file of his department not only continue to wrongly stop Black Nova Scotians at an extraordinary rate, but also disavow that racial bias even exists within the Halifax Regional Police.”

In his response, Maxwell said Insp. Boyd is “perfectly matched” to speak to the conduct of the HRP officers, including on Csts. Martin and Meisner, who were involved in Borden’s arrest.

“If you feel it is necessary to make a Motion in an effort to quash Chief Kinsella and Inspector Boyd’s subpoenas, I will respond on Ms. Borden’s behalf. However, I am left wondering why two public servants are unwilling to be involved in a public exercise of accountability — or why the Halifax Regional Municipality does not want them to participate,” Maxwell wrote.

Gough sent Maxwell his objections the day after Maxwell started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Borden’s legal expenses, which The Examiner reported on last week.

Last year, Borden and Maxwell spoke to Zane Woodford about potentially suing the police.

“Judges have a lot more power,” said Maxwell, “and judges have a lot more independence and impartiality than the police review board does.”

“It’s like, okay, whatever, that’s another person that we pulled over or whatever it’s nothing, you know, but they don’t really see the whole thing, how that affects a person,” Borden said.

“I’m gonna take it to the pocket because that’s where they need to be hit most,” she said. “I feel like the money that they’re using towards I don’t even know what they’re using it towards, but the money should be more into community because … community have people’s back more than the police does.

Of the 14-member Halifax Regional Police Executive Management Team, two members are Black, Deputy Chief Don MacLean and Superintendent Dean Simmonds.

Similarly to Borden’s complaint toward Halifax Regional Police, Simmonds and his wife, Liberal MLA for Preston, Angela Simmonds, have filed a complaint against the Cole Harbour RCMP for an incident in which they say they were racially profiled in a gunpoint traffic stop.

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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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