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Protesters show support for woman charged in Walmart incident
HALIFAX -- Dozens of protesters and supporters appeared at Halifax provincial court Wednesday to show their support for a woman charged in connection with a controversial incident at a local Walmart last month.
Santina Rao, 23, is facing charges of disturbing the peace, assaulting a peace officer, and resisting arrest, following the incident on Jan. 15.
Rao's appeared in Halifax provincial court on Wednesday. A wrist brace was visible on her left arm as she appeared in court.
While Rao appeared inside the courtroom, her supporters protested outside, holding signs and calling on the Crown to drop the charges against her.
"Don't waste Santina's time in May. Drop the charges now, today," they chanted.
However, the case was set over to May 12, to give Nova Scotia's Serious Incident Response Team time to wrap up its investigation.
"SIRT's conclusions aren't the be all and end all with respect to this, they are separate proceedings, but it may provide some background to what happened and put things in context a little bit better, as well as some additional information," said Rao's lawyer Gordon Allen.
Rao alleges she was racially profiled while shopping at the Walmart store on Mumford Road with her children last month. She previously told CTV News she was in the toy aisle when three employees and two police officers asked her about food she had placed in her stroller. She claims they accused her of concealing items, and that one of the officers tried to grab her arm, which led to a confrontation.
Part of the incident was captured on video, which appeared to show the officers tackling Rao, and her fighting back.
Police allege Rao was behaving aggressively and assaulted one of the officers while resisting arrest. The officer was taken to hospital and later released.
Rao says the altercation left her with bruises, a black eye, a fractured arm and a concussion.