In the harbour
1. Racial profiling
A Dartmouth man is accusing four Halifax police officers of racial profiling and has made a claim for assault, battery, false arrest, and false imprisonment against them.
The claim relates to an incident that occurred a year ago yesterday, on May 26, 2015.
According to the claim, on that date, Darryl Thompson was in the foyer of his apartment building on Joesph Young Street in north end Dartmouth at about 9:30pm, waiting to be picked up by a friend so he could help the friend move some furniture:
He was approached by behind by four men, now known to be the Police Officers, all of whom were wearing plain clothes. One man stood in front of him. Another stood behind him. The man behind Mr. Thompson grabbed him by his arm, another man grabbed him by the other arm. One say, “You are under arrest.” Mr. Thompson asked what for. The officer said for selling drugs, we are police officers.
This was the first time they identified themselves. They showed him no identification. The Police Officers then began to try to put handcuffs on him. He remonstrated that he was not a drug dealer and that they had the wrong guy. He continued to try to explain himself to the Police Officers, but they would not listen to him and continued to forcibly restrain him and to put the handcuffs on him. The Police Officers put him on the ground, hurting him. They frisked him, grabbed his private parts, lifted up his shirt, grabbed his cell phone and began to look through it.
The Police Officers finally explained that they had been responding to a complaint about someone dressed in black. Mr. Thompson was dressed in blue and white.
According to the claim, the police officers eventually concluded they had the wrong man, and said “the reason they had arrested him was that he was wearing a hoodie.” The claim continues:
Mr. Thompson was very angry, accusing them of arresting any black guy they see wearing a hoodie. One of the Police Officers pushed him in the chest, knocking him backward. If not for the wall behind him, Mr. Thompson says he would have gone down again. One of the Police Officers removed the cuffs and he was told he was free to go. He then realized that his left hand was swollen and he had a cut on his right buttock.
Named in the claim are police officers Michael Carter and Duane Stanley, along with two other officers — Thompson claims that the city has so far refused to identify the other two officers. Moreover, says Thompson, neither the city nor the landlord of the building have provided him with a videotape of the incident.
The accusations contained in the claim have not been tested in court, and neither the police officers nor the police department have filed a response with the court.
Darryl Thompson is represented by lawyer Walter Thompson (no relation), who in 2013 won a human rights complaint filed by Dino Gilpin against the Halifax Alehouse.
I’ve posted the three-page claim here.
It costs a lot of money to hire a lawyer, and a lot of time, hassle, and grief to take an issue like this to court. I can’t imagine that, even if Thompson wins, the monetary rewards will be worth it. Moreover, Thompson is now wearing a big bullseye, and no doubt the cops will be paying extra attention to him.
We’ll have to wait to see how the court decides (or alternatively if the police department settles before going to court), but this sounds to me like a guy who is just tired of it.
2. Train whistle
The situation in downtown Dartmouth has gotten out of hand.
There’s a train that winds its way along the waterfront once or twice a day, heading to and from the Autoport. This has been going on forever with no apparent mayhem, probably because the train travels at about walking speed.
When the King’s Wharf buildings went up, however, a new rail crossing was put in at the access road, and ever since, the train whistle blows as the train crosses the road. This usually happens in the wee hours of the morning, or at least that’s when I notice it.
I at first thought complaints about the whistle were akin to the people who moved into Bishops Landing next to the harbour and then complained about the fog horns. But several readers straightened me out on that — it wasn’t so much King’s Wharf residents complaining about the whistle, as it was people who have lived downtown for decades with no whistle, and then suddenly there’s a new whistle. Fair enough. A valid complaint.
So the issue was taken up by councillor Gloria McCluskey, and city and railroad officials met and came up with a plan. Natasha Pace, reporting for Global, explains:
There’s a new addition being added to a popular walking trail in downtown Dartmouth — a six-foot high chain link fence.
Why? Well because CN Railway trains travelling along the tracks there have been causing headaches, especially to those at King’s Wharf [as I explain above, Pace has this part wrong], by sounding their whistles at all hours of the day and night.
The only way CN will agree to stop the whistles is to have a fence constructed.
I was walking around downtown just a few days ago and couldn’t help but notice the fence — it’s horrible — but I stupidly forgot to take a picture of it. Here’s Pace’s pic:
There’s a new addition to the trail along the #Dartmouth waterfront: a 6 foot chain link fence @globalhalifax pic.twitter.com/odOipd9KUe
— Natasha Pace (@NatashaPace) May 26, 2016
This is ridiculous. The two issues are not at all connected: Pedestrians cross the tracks to get to the waterfront park, while people in cars cross the tracks at the King’s Wharf access road. The fence solution only makes sense to bone-headed bureaucrats.
Yes, I get safety concerns. I think the zig-zag gates on either side of the tracks on the waterfront trail are a bit silly, but never made an issue of them because they don’t really hurt anyone and if they satisfy some insurance requirement, well, no big deal. But to fence off the entire waterfront?
Again, we’re talking about a train that travels at a speed so slow that the engineer has enough time to jump out and free the damsel in distress tied to the tracks, take her to dinner and a show, and get back to the train before it reaches the spot where it would’ve run her over, all without applying the brakes.
How bizarre and perverse is it that the Damsel in Distress tied to the tracks is part of our cultural heritage? I vaguely remember some Saturday morning cartoon from my childhood that featured that scene every week — I thought it was Sally Purebred and Underdog, but it’s all lost in a fog now. All I could find was this homage to the silent movies:
This week, Zane Woodford, a reporter at Metro, has written a series of articles headlined “Faces of Mental Health.” Today’s article is here, which also provides links to the previous articles.
The articles are interesting, but beyond that, I’m glad to see Metro put a reporter on a dedicated beat for a week. Reporters get stretched too thin, and the resulting work is necessarily likewise thin. Doing good work takes a commitment of resources from a publisher and, even more important, time. So congratulations to Woodford and Metro.
4. Creepy children
Diane Paquette, writing for the CBC‘, relates an incident where a man was simply trying to be nice to children but was mistaken for being a child-luring monster. “It raises the question of whether adults should ever offer anything to children they don’t know — or even stop to talk to them.”
This gets into some deep philosophical and social issues about overblown concerns for stranger danger and teaching kids how to be wise in the world, but why doesn’t anyone ever asks the opposite question: Should kids ever try to approach adults they don’t know — or even try to talk to them?
I mean, say a guy is minding his own business in a diner on a Saturday morning, exhausted from a long week at work, nursing a hangover, dabbing at soggy eggs while toying with the sudoku, and some five-year-old a few tables down starts singing some bullshit or otherwise trying to impress all the adults in the place with how cute she is. Or, say a guy is on the bus, and the smiling mom across the aisle is letting her precious child explore the world, asking the other hapless passengers stupid questions about “what’s that?” and “why?,” “why?,” and even more fucking “why?” Or, suppose a guy is just trying to walk down the goddamned hallway at the rec centre in order to sit in the sauna and not think about anything at all for fifteen minutes for once in his life, but there are a dozen two-and-a-half feet tall screaming kids running around, cluttering up the place, tripping up and banging into the guy like chaotic land mines.
What about that, CBC?
1. Arcaded window arches
“Recently,” writes Stephen Archibald, “I led a Jane’s Walk to look at buildings designed by architect Henry Busch in late 19th century Halifax…”:
Preparing for the walk I relied on the excellent research of others (thanks Gary) and I also spent time closely observing Busch’s downtown buildings. I gradually realized that all the buildings had arched window and door openings, but what really made me joyful was the discovery that Busch often divided his arched openings in a particular way ( I’m serious).
Busch’s arched openings are often divided in the same manner: two arches within a large arch and a circle or medallion filling the gap between the smaller arches. His 1865 Howard Building at the corner of Prince and Hollis shows you what I mean.
Archibald goes on to discover that the arcaded window arches are all over town, both in buildings designed by Busch over his 30-year career in Halifax, but also elsewhere. ” You’d be surprised at how happy this discovery made me,” he notes.
2. Cranky letter of the day
I would like to bring up the parking situation on Commercial Street in North Sydney.
For some time now it has become increasingly difficult to enter Commercial Street by the way of King, Caledonia, Archibald and Court streets. The reason is due to the people who park their vehicles on Commercial Street right up to the corner of the above mentioned streets, thus blocking the view of drivers entering Commercial from the side street. One has to drive halfway out onto Commercial in order to see if there is any oncoming traffic from a westerly or easterly direction. This makes it very unsafe practice.
Those parking in such an unsafe way have to realize the danger they put others in. There are laws in place which help to deter such unsafe practices, however, it isn’t policed and I would think not since amalgamation of our police forces. Not all drivers park this way, however, it only takes a few who think they can park any way or anywhere.
While I’m on the subject of auto safety, why do some motorists drive their vehicle without having the vehicle’s headlights on?
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle on Nova Scotia highways at anytime without the vehicle’s headlights on (not park lights). This has been a law for the past two years and the only exemption is for registered vintage automobiles. We are creatures of habit and our brain has become programmed to pick up the illuminated lights at a quick glance. While driving I take notice right away if an oncoming vehicle’s headlights aren’t on. Can’t these drivers see the illuminated headlights of other vehicles? Maybe they think that by putting the headlights on they burn more power from their battery. Just thinking if involved in an accident, would not having the headlights on affect your insurance claim?
William Penny, North Sydney
No public meetings.
In the harbour
7:20am: Dinkeldiep, general cargo, arrives at PIer 36 from Saint-Pierre
11am: ZIM Constanza, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Valencia, Spain
1:30pm: an unknown US Naval Vessel arrives from parts unknown
4pm: Atlantic Sail, ro-ro cargo, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
4:45pm: Oceanex Connaigra, ro-ro cargo, sails from Pier 41 for St. John’s
6pm: Dinkeldiep, general cargo, sails from Pier 36 for Saint-Pierre
8:30pm: ZIM Constanza, container ship, sails from Pier 42 to sea
6am: Em Kea, container ship, arrives at HalTerm from Montreal
8am: FS Monge, a French rocket tracking ship, arrives at Pier 20
I’m interviewing Lil MacPherson for today’s edition of Examineradio, then holing myself up to work on DEAD WRONG the rest of the day. If all goes to plan, I won’t much be available except to people who have the secret Bat Code.
Please consider subscribing to the Examiner. Just $5 or $10 a month goes a long way. Or, consider making a one-time contribution via PayPal. Thanks much!
CN, I’m sure, was obligates to provide a private crossing. The developer cheapped out and did not go with a bridge. HRM did not demand that for site approval.
Transport Canada regulations are anything but unclear, either on needing a whistle or fence.
One might be pissed at the developer for not building a bridge, or Gloria for not telling those complaining to just STFU, but CN, TC, and HRM cogs are not the problem.
RE: Train whistle. This whole fence debacle could have been easily avoided if council and staff hadn’t changed the original development agreement to suit the developer. It is my understanding that the original contract stipulated that the overpass access to the site be constructed before a third building could be erected. The train whistle silliness began about the time people started moving into the second building. CN’s rational for the whistle was that there was a dangerous level crossing accessing the site. Had the overpass been constructed as required, the level crossing would have been relegated to “emergency use” status and voila, no train whistle and no fence – 50% paid for by us.
All of this begs the question: How do you get emergency vehicles and personnel to Kings Wharf if a train happens to stall across the tracks during a fire or medical emergency?
Finally, am I the only one who thinks Kings Wharf is one seriously ugly collection of utilitarian garbage fit only for the outer reaches of soviet era Moscow?
I think the cartoon you’re thinking of with the damsel tied to the tracks is Dudley Do-Right from the The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show .
“In the cartoon’s opening segments, Snidely is seen tying Nell Fenwick to a railroad track. He is the antithesis of Do-Right, who is the archetype of goodness and a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman.”
That’s it! Thanks.
It was Polly Purebred, Tim.
God, am I the only one who fact checks around here?
Was the villain Snidely Whiplash?
I am livid about that fence, and what it says about the clueless, unthinking dullness of the obliviots who signed off on its construction. Hullo, Dartmouth councillors? Anything to say?
More and more I despair of both the political and bureaucratic arms of this city.
Heads, as well as trains, should be rolling in Dartmouth.
“Obliviots.” Says it all! Thank you!
Looks like we got two cranky letters today!
That fence in Downtown Dartmouth is the most stupid of mindless bureacratic reactions to an issue which should have been easily resolved. The whistle issue was only for the crossing. Nothing to do with the rest of the track which has been there over 30 years without an issue.
How does this idiocy go unchallenged?
It goes unchallenged because city council is right and anyone who questions it is labeled a troublemaker.
You have to wonder at the idiocy of a city that would deliberately put a 6-ft high chain-link fence in front of its greatest attribute, Halifax Harbour.
There really needs to be a way to up-vote comments.
There is something wrong when we need a barrier to protect people from a train that is moving at walking speed.
[sends small child to play on Tim’s lawn]