1. HRP tell police review board their officer made ‘unlawful arrest’ in 2019 tasing
You may remember an incident back in December 2019, when a Halifax Regional Police officer tased a Black man on Quinpool Road after issuing him a ticket.
The officer in question, Const. Nicole Green, was found in disciplinary default after the arrest, for which she lost eight hours’ pay and was ordered to take deescalation training. She appealed the finding to the province’s Police Review Board, which held a hearing in May, but a written closing argument from HRP’s lawyer, which the Examiner received this week, has asked the board to uphold the original disciplinary decision.
The written submission to the review board argues the arrest of Clinton Fraser was unlawful in the first place, saying he posed no threat to the public or police when he was tased.
Fraser had been pulled over by Green and her partner Const. Josh Desmond, who claimed they’d seen him hit two vehicles with his truck. Fraser denied he’d hit anything, and got out of his car multiple times during the traffic stop. Both officers later said he was agitated and uncooperative. After he was issued a ticket, which has since been thrown out, he got out of his car a fourth time. That’s when things escalated.
“When he didn’t follow officers’ orders to get back in the car,” writes Zane Woodford in his latest update on the story, “Green arrested him for breach of the peace, claiming he was holding a pen that she believed could be used as a weapon. There was no pen recovered from the scene, with Green claiming it ‘exploded.’ In arresting Fraser, the officers tackled him to the ground and tased him seven times.”
In the initial internal review of the arrest, HRP found Green had breached the code of conduct for officers in the Nova Scotia Police Act, namely:
- Unlawful arrest without good or sufficient cause;
- Use of unnecessary force on or cruelly treating any prisoner or other person with whom the member may be brought into contact in the course of duty; and
- Unlawfully exercising authority as a member.
“Mr. Fraser should never have been subjected to a forceful arrest,” HRP lawyer Andrew Gough wrote in the closing argument that stands by that decision. “He was committing no crime and violating no provincial statute when he exited his vehicle.”
“This was an unlawful arrest.”
Gough argued that under the Motor Vehicles Act, Green had no authority to tell Fraser to get back in his vehicle after issuing the ticket, since the traffic stop had ended. He also argued Fraser hadn’t behaved in the threatening manner the officers had described, and an arrest for breach of peace wasn’t justified.
Unsurprisingly, Const. Green’s lawyer had a different interpretation.
“[I]t is respectfully submitted that Cst. Green could have arrested Mr. Fraser long before she finally decided to do so, and only made the decision to arrest him, when she perceived, reasonably, that Mr. Fraser presented a danger to the officers,” he wrote in his closing argument.
The Review Board’s decision isn’t expected for a few months, but in the meantime, Zane Woodford’s laid out the final word and legal analysis from both sides in his update on the closing arguments from the appeal.
2. Five Nova Scotians died from COVID this week
This item is written by Tim Bousquet.
Nova Scotia is reporting 5 new COVID deaths for the week ending August 8. In total, through the pandemic, 473 people in the province have died from COVID.
For the same reporting period (August 2-8), 50 people were hospitalized because of COVID.
Nova Scotia Health reports the hospitalization status as of yesterday:
• in hospital for COVID-19: 46 (7 of whom are in ICU)
• in hospital for something else but have COVID-19: 163
• in hospital who contracted COVID-19 after admission to hospital: 107
The above figures do not include children (if any) hospitalized with COVID at the IWK.
Also during the reporting period, there were 1,741 new lab-confirmed (PCR tests) new cases of COVID. This does not include people who tested positive with only the rapid take-home tests, or who didn’t test at all.
3. N.S. Health trying to provide better access to specialists
This item written by Yvette d’Entremont.
A new program expected to improve patient access to specialist care was announced by Nova Scotia Health (NSH) on Thursday.
The six-month pilot project is a collaboration between Nova Scotia company Virtual Hallway and Nova Scotia Health’s Innovation Hub.
The goal is to connect primary care providers (family doctors and nurse practitioners) with specialists by “facilitating rapid specialists phone consults.”
In a media release, NSH said that through Virtual Hallway, primary care providers can connect with specialists for “patient specific advice.” They’ll do this via brief phone consultations at a time that works with their schedule.
The project’s goal is to provide “efficient and rapid specialist input” to help avoid delays to patient care.
“I’ve been using Virtual Hallway for the last year. It’s been a game-changer in my large family medicine practice. I receive quick support from a variety of wonderful specialists on a platform that is very easy to access,” Bedford family physician Dr. Elena Swift said in the release.
“It has helped me better care for patients with complicated health issues. I’m amazed at how much I’ve been learning along the way. I encourage any interested primary care providers to take advantage of this tool.”
Since the program was launched on May 27, NSH said more than 500 Virtual Hallway consultations have taken place between primary care providers and NSH specialists.
“We have partnered with a local company to explore a unique and innovative solution that has the potential to reduce wait times and improve the health care experience for both patients and providers,” Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, vice president of Research, Innovation and Discovery, and Chief Nurse Executive, NSH, said in the release.
Using Virtual Hallway, primary care providers can usually connect with specialists within one to two days. Nova Scotia specialists are available for consultations with providers in the areas of psychiatry, pain management, internal medicine, endocrinology, gastroenterology, OB/GYN, pediatric allergy, hepatology, hematology, and more.
The Innovation Hub will evaluate the pilot project through collaboration with internal medicine and gastroenterology teams.
“The evaluation will explore the suitability of the Virtual Hallway solution as a peer-consult option for providers and identify opportunities for further collaboration, along with providing the company with clinician feedback,” NSH said.
Virtual Hallway is described as a physician-owned and operated service led by psychiatrists Dr. Jacob Cookey, Dr. Luke Napier, Dr. Daniel Rasic and healthcare innovator Justin Hartlen.
“The service started based on their observation that patients were waiting too long for specialist consultation and that these delays were leading to more chronic and disabling conditions,” the release said. “The idea was that specialist input earlier on in a course of illness could streamline a person’s treatment and optimize their care.”
4. New Glasgow Black Gala Homecoming is back after seven years
For the most part, 2022 is the year that ends the “two-year hiatus.” But in the case of the New Glasgow Black Gala Homecoming, which kicked off Wednesday, the pandemic has made the delay a little longer.
That’s because the homecoming – which brings back the Black diaspora of the Pictou County community for a week of welcome-back barbecues, dances, and services — only happens every five years. Since the last one was in 2015, the pandemic has put a seven-year gap between homecomings.
Those extra two years have made a big difference, homecoming committee chair Crystal States told Matthew Byard for his report on this year’s event.
“While it’s exciting and it’s nice to see family and friends and all that stuff, it’s still a little bittersweet because the homecoming was (created) around the premise of paying homage to our elders, to the people that came before us,” States said.
“And we’ve lost so many over the last couple of years.”
That includes Phyllis Patterson and Francis Dorrington, who helped found the homecoming back in 1990. Both were alive when this latest homecoming was originally scheduled for 2020, but have since passed away. They, and others who’ve been lost since the last homecoming, will be honoured at a church memorial service Sunday.
Interested in attending? Or checking out some of the other events in this abbreviated homecoming week? (This year the events run five days instead of seven). Find the schedule here. One highlight: On Friday, the Historic Sites and Monument Board of Canada will unveil a plaque commemorating the national historic significance of Viola Desmond at the former site of the Roseland Theatre where she was arrested in 1946 for sitting in a whites-only section.
If you miss it this year, you won’t have to wait so long for the next one. The homecoming will return early in 2025 to get back on its regular schedule.
Matthew Byard writes about the return of the homecoming, as well as its history and what there is to look forward to this year, in his article on Thursday.
5. Meagher Park is closed off as People’s Park encampment officially ends
People’s Park, the tent encampment that popped up on Halifax’s Meagher Park following the tent evictions of Aug. 18 last year, is officially shut down.
That’s according to a statement released by Halifax Regional Police this morning.
“This morning, Meagher Park was physically secured by Halifax Regional Municipality staff for upcoming remediation work,” reads the release. “Halifax Regional Police officers were on hand for support and assistance.”
There are no reports of violent altercations, as had been feared in the lead-up to the evictions when the municipality chose to have them led by police instead of civilian staff.
Remaining residents of the park, which at its height sheltered upwards of 30 people, were given notice it would be shut down on July 5, following the designation of tent sites in other parks around the city. The end of the park comes weeks after the original July 17 deadline for residents to leave.
The police statement says municipal staff are arranging the relocation of belongings still left at the park, which has been fenced off to the public while the city works to clean and restore it.
The statement concludes:
“We recognize there is no easy way to have implemented this plan, and the approach we took was meant to reduce trauma from any actions and ensure supports for all involved in the best and most thoughtful possible manner while reducing public safety risks. HRP officers took a patient, measured and supportive approach throughout as the process unfolded while acting in a supportive capacity.”
“We thank everyone for their cooperation and patience throughout this process, and we continue to urge ongoing cooperation as the work continues in the days ahead.”
Starry with a chance of showers
Making small talk with a mother trying to contain her wayward child at a Wolfville restaurant this week, I was envious to learn they were stopping for lunch on their way to Kejimkujik.
I’d be envious of that any day — it’s one of the most pristine natural getaways in the province, after all, but I was especially green this week.
That’s because the Perseid meteor showers are in full swing.
What better place to take in the best light show of the year than from the national park that offers Nova Scotia’s darkest sky and brightest stars?
Earth’s premier annual light show hits its peak tonight and tomorrow, when the planet passes through debris left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. As dust and small space rocks — that’s the scientific term, right? — burn up in the atmosphere, we’ll get a night-long show of shooting stars, with the best views coming just before dawn.
Though shooting stars will be visible across the night sky, they’ll be most prevalent, as always, around the Perseus constellation. Hence, the name.
To refresh your memory, Perseus is the Greek hero who killed Medusa, rode Pegasus, and saved Andromeda from a sea monster. To honour his exploits, the gods carved out his likeness in the stars.
Or at least they tried.
The gods were notoriously bad at reproducing images, or even the impression of images, in the constellations.
For further proof, here’s two of the aforementioned myths the gods sketched in the sky.
Pegasus, a winged horse.
And Andromeda, a beautiful princess.
Squint, and you might see them. But I digress.
Many fond memories come to mind when the Perseids roll around:
Summers sleeping outside on my neighbour’s deck. A last-minute camping trip to Blomidon as a teenager, where no one brought a wallet or tent poles. We paid for the site with scrounge-up pocket change and slept on the grass. I woke up with an eye sewn shut by a bug bite.
There was one magical night on the shore of Lake Louise, with a girl I dated for a month mostly void of magic, where we stared skyward til dawn, catching a lifetime’s worth of shooting stars in a few short hours. We were so close to them, up there in the Rockies, that sometimes they seemed to skip across the mountaintops.
The best things in life really are free. (Some clichés bear repeating.)
I asked the mother at that Wolfville restaurant if she knew the shower was happening, saying she was lucky to be in such prime stargazing real estate this weekend.
She told me it was supposed to rain the whole time.
In fact, it’s supposed to rain all over Nova Scotia. And even if the skies were clear, there’s a full moon. The view won’t be ideal for the rest of the world either.
There’s always next year.
As consolation, here’s a short documentary we were shown in journalism school to demonstrate how to shoot video at night. I don’t remember the lessons from that class. But I like to return to the video now and then. It’ll have to suffice til next August.
I figure I’ll use this section to highlight some local Indigenous art today.
Mi’kmaw poet and storyteller shalan joudry (she spells her name without capitals) is putting on the third production of her one-woman play, KOQM, in Parrsboro this week.
You may have caught it at Neptune in April. Or at the King’s Theatre in Annapolis Royal, the town that inspired the play to begin with.
Last year, Annapolis Royal celebrated its 400th anniversary as a settlement. An article in Saltwire called it a celebration of 400 years of Nova Scotia. Obviously, the history of this land extends back a lot farther, and that’s what drove joudry to write KOQM (“old tree” in Mi’kmaq), which tells the story of Mi’kmaw women through six generations who live through the early days of colonialism.
Maureen Googoo and Ku’ku’kwes News profiled the play and its writer yesterday.
“Annapolis Royal is celebrated as a European colonial town and I understand that they want to celebrate,” joudry, a member of the Bear River First Nation, told Googoo.
“At the same time, I am constantly wondering what it was like for our ancestors in this region through all of those colonial times.”
From Googoo’s article:
joudry says she chose to write the play from a woman’s perspective because she discovered that many of the written historical accounts of Mi’kmaw people only described Mi’kmaw men and leaders.
“But what about the women? What were they doing? What were they doing to continue to empower our nation, take care of our nation?” she said. “You know, what were their roles throughout history?”
Through monologues, the characters describe their personal experiences with residential schools, centralization, the formation of reserves and dealing with British and French settlers.
As live theatre has returned, and local artists try to recover from the loss of work in the pandemic, an Indigenous production from our own backyard is a great place to start rediscovering live drama while supporting the Nova Scotians who make it. It’s also a great way to explore the themes of reconciliation that have been coming to the forefront of the national consciousness in recent years.
Ken Schwartz of Two Planks and a Passion theatre company directs the production at the Ship’s Company Theatre. He told Googoo non-Indigenous theatre-goers react differently from the Indigenous audience.
“They get, I think, in some cases, a really moving education, you know,” Schwartz explained.
“It’s like a provocation that invites them to learn more and to ask questions, and to question things they thought they already knew,” he said.
The play runs in Parrsboro through August 14, then moves to Sydney in October.
PhD Defence, Electrical and Computer Engineering (Friday, 9am, online) — Xiaoyao Feng will defend “On the Theory and Experiments of Time-Reversal for Source Reconstruction”
In the harbour
06:00: MSC Angela, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
05:30: SFL Conductor, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Davisville, Rhode Island
09:00: Nolhanava, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Saint-Pierre
09:00: CSL Tacoma, bulker, arrives at Gold Bond from Wilmington, North Carolina
11:00: Contship Leo, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
12:15: Selfoss, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Portland
17:45: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
02:00: Cherokee, oil tanker, sails from Point Tupper for sea
07:00: Niagara Spirit, barge, and Tim McKeil, tug, sail from Sydport for sea
11:00: CSL Argosy, bulker, sails from Aulds Cove quarry for sea
11:00: Baie St.Paul, bulker, moves from Pirate Harbour to Aulds Cove quarry
13:00: Sarah Desgagnes, oil tanker, arrives at Government Wharf (Sydney) from Milne Inlet, Nunavut
My knowledge of the stars is limited — they didn’t cover them much at youth sailing camp — but I have a hot tip for my fellow astral idiots who want to look like they can map the night sky.
To appear like an amateur astronomer the next time you’re stargazing with friends, just point out Casseopia. It’s easier to spot than the Big Dipper, yet you will be shocked at how many people you’ll impress with your ability to spot the easily observable. It’s made me look smart in front of many astronomically-challenged friends over the years. I think it’s the name: Cass-e-o-pia. Sounds so fancy and scientific. If it was called the “Big W”, it probably wouldn’t get the same reaction.