Nova Scotia court says arrest of couple in park was ‘cookie cutter’ policing
January 3, 2023 By The Canadian Press
Jan. 3, 2022, Halifax, N.S. – The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has upheld a Police Review Board ruling that said an officer went too far when he arrested a couple who were in a park after hours in 2018.
Adam LeRue and Kerry Morris originally filed a complaint against two Halifax officers, alleging race played a role when LeRue – who is Black – was arrested and jailed after the couple stopped to eat pizza and make a phone call.
In the original June 18, 2021, decision, the board found that Const. Kenneth O’Brien wasn’t motivated by race but failed to exercise discretion and de-escalate the situation when he demanded ID, arrested the couple, and conducted a full vehicle search.
LeRue was held overnight in the Halifax police lockup, facing a criminal charge for obstruction of justice – a charge later resolved through restorative justice.
Supreme Court Justice Mona Lynch says she backs the board’s conclusion that O’Brien did not adhere to the police code of conduct and that the board’s “reasoning process was clear.”
She describes the constable’s actions as a “cookie-cutter approach” to policing that doesn’t agree with established law.
The board’s original finding said O’Brien violated several articles of the police code, including one that refers to “acting in a manner that is reasonably likely to bring discredit on the reputation of the police department.”
The board dismissed the allegations against the second officer, Const. Brent Woodworth, concluding he acted largely on O’Brien’s instructions and according to police training.
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