On May 5, 2021, Halifax Regional Police Constable Pierre-Paul Cadieux and Constable Steve Logan were found guilty of racism by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
The Commission’s 51-page decision (view PDF) doesn’t pull any punches about Constable Pierre-Paul Cadieux’s and Constable Steve Logan’s behaviour.
 I find that race was a factor in the police officers’ decision to target the Complainant for surveillance and investigation. This decision resulted in a summary offence ticket and constitutes adverse treatment. The Respondent has not justified this adverse treatment. Accordingly, the Complainant has established discrimination in violation of the Human Rights Act. This requires a remedy that is appropriate and responsive in the circumstances.
REASONS FOR DECISION having been delivered this day finding that the Respondent, Halifax
Regional Municipality (“HRM”) o/a Halifax Regional Police Department (“HRPD”), contravened the Human Rights Act and discriminated against the Complainant, Gyasi Symonds;
IT IS ORDERED THAT:
- HRM shall remit to Gyasi Symonds a total amount of $15,233 for compensatory and general damages within thirty days from the date of this order;
- HRM shall provide Gyasi Symonds a written apology for the discrimination he experienced within three months from the date of this order;
- HRM shall ensure that the HRPD offers (in-person or virtually) its Journey to Change course at least once within the twelve months following the date of this order;
- HRPD shall ensure that Cst. Steve Logan takes the Journey to Change course when it is next offered by the HRPD; and
- HRPD shall ensure that Cst. Paul Cadieux takes the Journey to Change course when it is next offered by the HRPD.
 On the morning of January 24, 2017, Mr. Symonds left his workplace and crossed Gottingen Street (east to west) to get a coffee at the Nook. All parties agree that he crossed in the middle of the street and not at the nearby intersection (Cornwallis Street and Gottingen Street) that is controlled by traffic lights in both directions.
 Mr. Gyasi Symonds, the Complainant, acknowledged that jaywalking was an offence, but observed that it is an offence that is regularly committed on Gottingen St. He testified that he crossed Gottingen St around 8:00am on the day in question to get a coffee at the Nook. He admitted to crossing in the middle of the street, but did not admit to failing to yield to oncoming traffic. He stated that there were four white co-workers who crossed in a similar fashion in front of him.
 Mr. Symonds stated that he was confronted by Cst. Cadieux and Cst. Logan who blocked his entrance to the Nook. From his perspective, he was singled out because he is Black and given an unnecessary lecture. He stated that the interaction only ended when he asked if he was being detained. He then entered the Nook to get a coffee.
 After getting his coffee, he exited the Nook and turned left (north) toward the intersection of Gottingen St and Cornwallis St. Mr. Symonds stated that he could see the backs of Cst. Cadieux and Cst. Logan who were walking north on the west side of Gottingen St approximately two buildings north of the intersection. Mr. Symonds could not remember if the light was green or red when he reached the intersection, but he was unequivocal in his testimony that he crossed with the light at the intersection.
 Mr. Symonds testified that he then returned to work and continued with his workday. After about ten to fifteen minutes, he was contacted by a supervisor, Ms. Tracey Embrett, who advised him that the police were in the lobby and wanted to speak to him.
 Mr. Symonds went down to the lobby. He was met by Cst. Cadieux who he described as immediately aggressive and wanting to give him a ticket for jaywalking. He said he was threatened with arrest if he did not comply with providing his identification. Since he did not have his identification, Mr. Symonds returned to his office to get his identification before coming back to the lobby. He was then issued a summary offence ticket and returned to work. Mr. Symonds testified that he had his cell phone with him and was trying to record the interaction but ultimately was not able to do so.
 Mr. Symonds described the events as one of the worst days he has ever had at work. He said that he felt humiliated, ashamed, and degraded by the interactions. He felt targeted by the police.
 Mr. Symonds stated that the events have had a lasting impact on him personally and professionally. He testified that he no longer goes for coffee while at work and feels uncomfortable in the lobby. He stated that he has been passed over for numerous internal job competitions. He further stated that this lack of career advancement is linked to these interactions with the police.
They Got Off Easy
“I’m happy that the hearing worked out in my favour, but I don’t feel like it sent the message,” said Gyasi Symonds after the decision was released.
“These decisions are supposed to be made in a way where it deters people from wanting to behave that way again. And, you know, it was such a mild decision that it’s almost worthwhile to keep discriminating if you can maintain your job and maintain your pension and you only have to take a course and apologize.”
“The whole demeanour and vibe of the situation was hostile,” Symonds said.
“I was humiliated and I was terrified. I thought they were going to try to arrest me, and they were completely ready to do so. One had his hand on his gun.”
Symonds’ story was corroborated by Carolyn Brodie, the commissionaire working on the front desk of the lobby, who testified on his behalf in front of the human rights board of inquiry.
“She stated that she was worried the police were going to hurt Mr. Symonds, and that she was in shock by what she considered to be their disproportionate response,” the ruling notes.
Not Pierre-Paul Cadieux’s First Rodeo
It’s not the first time Constable Pierre-Paul Cadieux has found himself in trouble, but it is the first time he was found guilty.
Constable Cadieux first hit my radar when the sexual assault charges against him were stayed by Crown prosecutors in July 2020 because they felt there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction.
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