Two weeks after being attacked on Argyle Street, this couple is still waiting for answers from police | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia

Two weeks after being attacked on Argyle Street, this couple is still waiting for answers from police | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia

OOn June 23, Emma MacLean and her friend Tori were attacked – verbally and physically – by a group of young men on Argyle Street in the early hours of the morning.

When The Coast contacted Halifax Regional Police (HRP) to request an interview about the attack, Const. Anne Giffin said, “An attack occurred at approximately 1:50 a.m. on June 23 in the area of ​​the 1600 block of Argyle Street in Halifax. Two people were approached by another group, unknown to them, and assaulted. The incident remains under investigation.”

Under investigation. Those two words conjure up all sorts of images: ringing doorbells, watching legions of security footage, interviewing key witnesses. Working around the clock to bring dangerous offenders to justice.

Let’s take a look at what we know so far about HRP’s investigation into the crime.

Sunday June 23

MacLean and her friend Tori were visiting Halifax from PEI to celebrate MacLean’s birthday. After a night out at the bars, they were walking down Argyle Street and as they turned the corner, they came across a large group of men. MacLean said the men started hitting on her, which she clearly didn’t like and neither did Tori.

According to MacLean, it was clear they were an affair, and when Tori told them to watch their words and not talk to her friend, they responded with homophobic insults, including telling Tori, “You wish you had a dick.”

“Tori followed them and they went back to Argyle Street and everyone joined in the conversation, saying really homophobic things,” MacLean said. “Then one of them pushed her and then they all started hitting her and kicking her.”

MacLean quickly realized that Tori needed help, so she said she ran into the fight and put one of the men in a chokehold (she is a rugby player) to stop him from continuing to kick and punch Tori. Her attempt to stop him was futile and she ended up on the ground, being kicked and punched.

The women aren’t sure who called the police, but they arrived after things had calmed down a bit. Once there, MacLean said she was shocked by how little the police actually did.

“They didn’t really do anything. They didn’t take any pictures of us and our injuries,” MacLean said. “Apparently they’re not allowed to take pictures with their cell phones anymore; they have to call someone else to take them, but they didn’t.”

MacLean said most of the men involved were able to flee, despite bystanders pointing them out as they ran away. The one who stuck around to talk to police told them the women were the ones who attacked them.

Police gave the women a business card and told them to call the next morning if they wanted to file a complaint.

A few hours later, between 4:30 and 5:30 Monday morning, MacLean said she called the number on the card to see if she could speak to the officer assigned to their case, Const. Chris McLeod, to see if any arrests had been made. They hadn’t. He then told her he was finishing up his last shift and would be off for four days, so he would contact her on Thursday.

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According to MacLean, police didn’t even take photos of their injuries after they were attacked on Argyle Street.

Monday June 24

“We were only going to be in Nova Scotia until Monday, so we thought, ‘frig it,’ we might as well go down to the station and give our statements and hopefully get some more answers,” MacLean told The Coast.

They gave their statement to another police officer and were told that these types of “bar fights” are difficult to truly investigate.

“They said the reason we sent you home and didn’t take your statement at the scene and didn’t make any arrests or anything is because there’s just so much bar fighting going on,” MacLean said of her conversation with the officer. “The whole time I was thinking, well, this wasn’t a bar fight. We were two women and this was a whole group of men. And we weren’t in a bar.”

That evening, MacLean’s partner Tori called the police line because she wanted to make sure that police had obtained the footage of the fight and that it would not be deleted. MacLean said that the dispatcher did not connect her to an investigating officer and told her that their sergeant had instructed her that no information could be given to her and that no other officer could or would investigate during Const. McLeod’s four days off.

“Dispatch was extremely rude to her questions and eventually hung up,” MacLean said.

Tuesday June 25

Shocked that three days had passed with no progress in the investigation and at how badly the women had been treated, Marisa MacLean, Emma’s mother, wrote emails to the police chief and several MPs letting them know what had happened and asking for their help.

The police chief assured her, Marisa said, that the footage “would be requested” and that they would not treat this as a typical bar fight. She was told it would be handled “appropriately.”

Marisa said she was put in touch with the division commander to ensure the entire investigation was completed in a timely manner.

Wednesday June 26

Marisa spoke to the division commander who said he had no idea why the investigation had been put on hold for four days while Const. MacLeod was away. She was told that in his absence the case should have been handed over to someone else.

MacLean took it upon herself to post about the attack on her Facebook page and said she was inundated with responses, including eyewitnesses sharing videos of the attack. She even had people commenting to identify some of the alleged attackers.

“Someone even responded to my post and said they told the agents they saw everything and could give a statement, but they hadn’t been contacted yet,” MacLean said. “I was playing FBI agent myself when I had a few names and was going through their mutual friends to try to find one of the others.”

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Images taken by witnesses of the alleged attackers after police arrived at the scene.

Thursday June 27

At approximately 6:45 p.m., Const. McLeod returned to MacLean and asked her to “provide any information you have gathered and I will do what I can with it,” referring to the eyewitness accounts, identifications and videos she had obtained via Facebook.

Friday June 28

Const. McLeod emailed that “we have made good progress with positive identifications and have some statements lined up for this weekend to continue digging.”

Saturday June 29

MacLean reached out via email to ask if anyone had been brought in for questioning or if they had been able to view the footage from any of the businesses in the area. She did not receive a response.

Sunday June 30th

MacLean emailed McLeod again to let her know. “I was worried because I knew he was going to get another four days off and I hadn’t heard anything,” she said. Again, she didn’t get a response.

Monday July 1st

Const. McLeod emailed and said, “The file is being thoroughly investigated. While I regret I cannot share too many details to protect the integrity of the investigation, this matter is certainly a priority.” He also said that the liquor enforcement and hate crimes units had been activated and assured her that the investigation would not be halted for four days. He would keep them updated.

Tuesday July 2 and Wednesday July 3


Thursday July 4th

A full twelve days after the attack, HRP posted a press release (below) on their website and social media platforms. The statement makes no mention of two women being overrun by a group of men. If you hadn’t heard the details of the crime, its vagueness would have made it very easy to ignore.

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Victim Support and the Hate Crime Unit reached out to support the women, again nearly two weeks after the incident. MacLean said the Hate Crime Unit asked her to tell the story in detail.

Sunday July 7th

As of July 7, the images and videos of the alleged attackers have not been formally released by HRP, but have been shared by a few media outlets and are still on MacLean’s Facebook page.

Neither Emma, ​​Tori, nor Marisa have heard from Const. McLeod or any other officer involved in the investigation since July 1.

No arrests have been made yet.