Nova Scotia's police watchdog probing Santina Rao case 'not truly independent'

Police shouldn’t be investigating police and that includes a current SIRT probe into the controversial arrest of a 23-year-old black woman at a Halifax Walmart, says a retired city cop.

“It’s not truly independent if there are current police officers involved because they’re investigating themselves,” said Tom Martin, a private investigator who spent 29 years with the Halifax police force. “The optics are not what I think they should be if SIRT is going to be described as an independent body.”

Santina Rao alleges she was roughed up by Halifax Regional Police officers after she objected to being accused of shoplifting inside the Mumford Road Walmart on Jan. 15.

A widely shared video of the exchange shows the woman being closely pursued by three officers before one forces the woman to the ground face-first. She was charged with causing a disturbance, assault causing bodily harm to an officer, and resisting arrest.

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