An independent human rights board of inquiry has determined that a Hammonds Plains woman accused of being a repeat shoplifter by staff at a Sobeys in Tantallon was discriminated against. On May 26, 2009, Andrella David was stopped at a grocery store checkout by a Sobeys employee, and accused of being a “known shoplifter in the store” identified by video surveillance. In front of other shoppers, Ms. David was told that the store’s surveillance footage had captured previous instances of shoplifting, that she was being watched and if it happened again, they would be pressing charges. There was no indication that Ms. David had attempted to shoplift. This event led to a complaint being filed with the Human Rights Commission and board of inquiry. Board chair Marion Hill’s written decision describes the events surrounding Ms. David’s experience at Sobeys, finding that she was discriminated against on the basis of her race and/or colour, and perceived source of income, both protected under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act. Ms. Hill writes that colour and race were important factors in the decision to confront Ms. David. She also found that “racial profiling” was a factor in the treatment of Ms. David. Ms. Hill describes how the Sobeys staff member relied heavily on poor quality video in her identification of Ms. David. “The most distinguishing feature that could be positively identified from the pictures and the video evidence was the fact that the alleged shoplifter was a black woman with dark hair.” Ms. Hill accepted the argument that shoplifting is a concern for Sobeys, resulting in serious financial loss. “However, the respondent’s continuous identification of the complainant as a known shoplifter is unjustified.” Ms. Hill has reserved decision on remedy and those arguments will be heard on Oct. 27 and 28. For more information on this and consumer racial profiling in Nova Scotia, please visit http://humanrights.gov.ns.ca/ .