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Police issue statement about arrest after post circulates on social media

HRP do not believe this incident meets the threshold for referral to SiRT
000000-halifax regional police headquarters
Halifax Regional Police headquarters ( file photo)

Halifax Regional Police have issued a statement about an arrest at Walmart Wednesday after a post about the incident has been circulating on social media.

In a Facebook post (see below), Santina Rao alleges she was the victim of racial profiling.

Rao says she was shopping at the Mumford Road store with her two children when she was approached by police about a possible theft.

She alleges she tried to show her receipt and offered to let officers search her stroller but the incident turned violent.

"Smashed me in my face," says the Facebook post. "3 cops tackled me to the ground and I believe my left wrist is fractured because I cannot move it."

The post - which shows bruising around her eye - has been shared more than 1,400 times.

Halifax Regional Police say they take allegations like this very seriously.

Police confirm officers were called to the store at around 3:30 p.m., responding to a report of a theft-in-progress. 

"Officers approached a woman who was believed to have concealed items," said the release from HRP. "She became verbally abusive and was behaving aggressively."

Police say the woman was placed under arrest for causing a disturbance, but allege she resisted and assaulted one of the officers.

They say the officer was treated in hospital and has since been released.

Rao has been charged with causing a disturbance, assaulting a peace officer and resisting arrest. 

The province's Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) investigates all serious incidents involving the police in the province, regardless of whether there is an allegation of wrongdoing.

Cst. John MacLeod tells, HRP do not believe this incident meets the threshold for referral to SiRT.

A rally in support of Rao is planned outside the Walmart Friday at 5 p.m.

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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