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Lawyer says charges against N.S. woman to be dropped in racial profiling case

Last Updated Jul 7, 2020 at 7:54 am EDT

HALIFAX — The lawyer for a woman who accused Halifax police of racial profiling and physical abuse says charges against her will be dropped today.

Santina Rao was facing charges of disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer following an incident at a Halifax-area Walmart in January.

She was scheduled to appear in Halifax provincial court today.

But her lawyer, Gordon Allen, has confirmed that the charges will be formally dropped in court.

The 23-year-old has said she became upset on Jan. 15 when police accused her of concealing items while shopping in the store. 

A cellphone video of the incident shows police wrestling Rao to the floor as she protests.

Nova Scotia’s independent police watchdog agency is investigating the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Rao says she tried to show the officers her receipts and agreed to a search.

The Serious Incident Response Team has confirmed that Rao was injured during the arrest, which is the main reason why the investigation has been started.

The team’s mandate is to investigate police actions that may have led to serious injury or death, or where those actions may raise a significant public interest.

Investigators have asked anyone who witnessed the incident to contact the team, which is required to file a public report about its investigation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2020.

The Canadian Press