Human rights inquiry hears accusations of racism against Halifax police officers

A human rights board of inquiry heard two clashing versions Friday of a man's interaction with Halifax Regional Police that started with jaywalking and led to accusations of discrimination.

Gyasi Symonds, who is Black, alleges he was the victim of racism when police went to his office building and issued him a ticket for jaywalking. The incident happened nearly four years ago, on Jan. 24, 2017.

The hearing has been at times tense and emotional, with Symonds accusing the two police officers involved of lying during their testimony.

On the day in question, Symonds left his work at an office building on Gottingen Street and went to get a cup of coffee at a café across the street. He admitted he crossed illegally to get to the coffee shop, and said four white people did the same, just steps ahead of him.

Two Halifax Regional Police officers saw Symonds cross and testified that a white van had to stop to avoid hitting him. Constables Steve Logan and Pierre-Paul Cadieux said they warned Symonds not to do it again and tried to educate him about being a safe pedestrian.

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