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Monday, July 14, 2008

Digby (Nova Scotia) protesters take aim at cops' 'racial profiling'

July 14, 2008
By BRIAN MEDEL, Nova Scotia News

DIGBY — Placard-carrying protesters sang civil rights songs during their five-minute march from Bethel Temple to Digby's RCMP detachment Monday where Rev. Michael Alden Fells stressed what he's said many times in the past week.

“We will no longer sit idly by and ignore injustices.” He said black youth across the province but particularly in Digby have been treated unfairly by police. “We've experienced racial profiling ... from the RCMP,” he said. “It becomes alarming when police can be in civilian clothing; when they can use the most degrading of racial slurs to bring humiliation and embarrassment to our youth. It's an alarming thing when the RCMP can come to the aid of the perpetrators and not the aid of the victims.”

William Drummond, 20, said someone in a parked van, now known to be owned by Halifax Regional Police, shouted out an offensive name as he and a friend, Nathaniel Fells, walked past during the early hours of June 22. A side door slid open and some men jumped out of the vehicle. One of them threw a punch, Mr. Drummond said. The man missed and Mr. Drummond punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground.

Halifax Regional Police have confirmed that one of their off-duty members was hurt in Digby and had to be taken to the hospital during the early hours of June 22.

Mr. Drummond has not been charged with any offence.

Mr. Drummond said he was backing away from the group of angry, off-duty cops when he was jolted by Digby Mounties with a Taser.

RCMP are probing the incident.

Mr. Fells has asked for an independent investigation.

RCMP Cpl. Joe Taplin said RCMP major crime officers who have nothing to do with the Digby detachment are conducting the probe. That's what the RCMP consider an independent probe, he said.

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