The petition was started by the East Coast Prison Justice Society, a hub for prison justice advocacy concerned with advancing legislative and policy reform around policing in Nova Scotia. This group belongs to the Nova Scotia Policing Policy Working Group, the same group that, back in June of this year, prepared a report for Halifax's Board Of Police Commissioners to help define what 'defunding the police' in the HRM looks like.
The Board of Police Commissioners—city councillors Lindell Smith, Becky Kent and Lisa Blackburn, as well as Anthony Thomas and Caroll McDougall—are on the receiving end of the online petition created on Change.org last Thursday. The petition claims the actions of Halifax Regional Police on August 18 “reflect longstanding and systemic issues with policing in HRM, including the Municipality's reliance on police to address complex social needs; excessive force by police; and the militarization of the police.”
Petitioners demand “that the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners order an independent, civilian review of the Halifax Regional Police's actions on August 18, 2021, in coordination with any related reviews or investigations that may be ordered by HRM Regional Council.”