Halifax police lay drug, weapons charges related to incident shown in controversial video
HALIFAX -- Police have charged a Halifax man with firearms and drug offences related to the incident where a Halifax Regional Police officer was captured on video pointing a gun at a man, and shouting what HRP call "unacceptable comments".
Police say on Friday around 6 p.m., officers responded to a weapons complaint in the 200 block of Wentworth Drive in Halifax. When police arrived, they found four men in two vehicles there, with one injured.
Three were arrested, while one fled on foot. Two of the men, one injured and one not, were released without charges shortly after.
Police say the man who was injured had non-life threatening injuries, and declined medical treatment. They say the third man was found to be in possession of about 2 lbs. of crack-cocaine.
Officers also say they seized a loaded handgun from one of the vehicles.
On Monday, police charged 30-year-old Derrick Coryaunt Allison from Halifax with the following charges:
• Possession of a weapon dangerous to the public
• Carrying a concealed weapon
• Possession of a prohibited weapon
• Possession of a prohibited firearm knowing it is unauthorized
• Unauthorized possession in motor vehicle
• Possession of a prohibited firearm with ammunition
• Possession of a firearm contrary to a court order
• Possession of a controlled substance
• Possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking
He is scheduled to appear in court later Monday.
A video apparently taken of the confrontation with police surfaced on social media Saturday, appearing to show an officer pointing a weapon at a man with his hands up.
The audio on the 28-second video is poor, but at around the eight-second mark, the officer is heard saying something that sounds like, "I will fill you full of f—ing lead."
The video, which appears to have been taken from the balcony of a building, shows a man walking away from the officer as the two men are walking around a pickup truck in a parking lot.
The officer orders the man to stop, but he doesn't — and at one point the man says something that sounds like: "You're not allowed to shoot me in the back."
At the 19-second mark, the man drops his arms and sprints around an apartment building and out of the lot, as the officer appears to talk on a two-way radio. In the video, the officer does not fire or give chase.
"The video itself is what I would call a small piece of the entire interaction but what we can hear in the video is what appears to be inappropriate and unacceptable comments during a very high risk takedown that the officer was involved in," said Halifax Chief of Police, Dan Kinsella on Saturday.
"Not only was he faced with a high risk takedown but he was also faced with an individual that was not following his direction at the time," Kinsella added.
Police confirm the man in the video is the same man who fled the scene of the arrest on Wentworth Drive. As of Sunday evening, police have been unable to locate him.
Police say the investigation is ongoing and ask anyone with further information to contact them or Crime Stoppers.
VIDEO CONTINUES TO SPARK OUTRAGE
As the video continues to spread on social media, Nova Scotia’s premier and justice minister have acknowledged they have seen it.
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin said it was "disappointing to hear those remarks on the video."
“As you know systemic racism is something I campaigned on…it’s going to be a priority throughout my time in office. What I heard on the video personally is disgusting. but I’m going to let that review take place and I expect Halifax police to take corrective action,” said Rankin on Monday morning. “There will be more action and I’ll be speaking to the Justice Minister”.
In an email statement to CTV News, Randy Delorey, Nova Scotia Minister of Justice and Attorney General wrote: “The video that was widely shared is deeply disturbing. I expect a speedy and transparent investigation by Halifax Regional Police into this incident.”
The video has led to outrage in the Halifax community and online.
GameChangers 902, a Halifax-based organization which aims to fight racism, says they are organizing a "phone line blitz", calling for community members to call the Halifax Regional Police complaint line and SIRT on Tuesday, and demand accountability.
"I don't feel safe as a Black man, being in this city where police officers are saying that," says Quentrel Provo, a Halifax-based anti-violence activist. "If you do not see an issue with the police officer saying those words to someone, you are part of the problem."
The mayor of Halifax says he has seen the video and is concerned.
"It needs to be investigated quickly and thoroughly, and that will tell us what the next steps are on this, but sure it's concerning," said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.
The chair of Halifax's Board of Police Commissioners said he agrees.
"Not knowing the full information of what's happened, but just seeing the video was enough for me to be very concerned," says Lindell Smith, who also serves as city councillor for Halifax's District 8. "The feeling of when you see videos like this, no matter who the individual is, anyone that has a gun pointed at them, it is disturbing."
"Police say they're investigating, but what is there to investigate?" asked Provo. "The video is there. It should be clear and you know the officer needs to be fired, and you need to send a message to other officers that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated."
POLICE UNION STANDS BY OFFICER
In a statement issue Monday, the union representing members of the Halifax Regional Police said they are 'extremely disappointed' in the backlash that the officer is facing.
"What was also very concerning for us was how the Chief portrayed this in the media," says Dean Steinburg, president of the Halifax Regional Police Association (HRPA).
The HRPA's statement says the officer has been placed on administrative duties, despite not receiving 'proper notice of these steps'.
"I think he's frustrated. I think he understands that there is an investigative process that's going to take place, and he accepts that, but I think he's frustrated with the same things that the association and the other 500 plus police officer in this city are frustrated with. They really feel there's a lack of support and a lack of leadership," says Steinburg.
The union's statement continues that they are 'confident that an impartial investigation will reveal that the allegations made against the officer are fundamentally false', and that they urge the public to take into consideration that a short, poor-quality clip does not appear to tell the whole story.