Black Cop
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Black Cop

My 36 years in police work, and my career ending experiences with official racism

By Calvin Lawrence, With Miles Howe

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When Calvin Lawrence joined the Halifax City Police in 1969, he thought he knew what to expect. There was growing tension in the city between the black community and the police, and Calvin believed that as a black police officer he would be able to make a difference.

But what he didn't know was that he was embarking on a life-long career in which he would consistently be the target of racist behaviour — from his co-workers and his superiors, and from police organizations as a whole. Calvin describes how he was the target of racial slurs, mocked for being black, pigeonholed into roles, and denied advancement because he was not white. After 36 years in law enforcement, Calvin retired early from the police, suffering from clinical depression and with a settlement from the RCMP after winning a Human Rights complaint.

Calvin holds nothing back as he reflects on a career that took him across the country — he shares his experiences as Newfoundland's only black police officer, his undercover stints in Edmonton and Toronto, and his time in Ottawa protecting major world leaders like Jimmy Carter and Brian Mulroney.

Calvin Lawrence's story lays bare the key failures of Canadian police organizations that operate on the basis that only white Canadians are entitled to the rights promised to all by the rule of law and the Canadian Charter of Rights.


Chapter 1 Black Consciousness

Chapter 2 Boxing Life

Chapter 3 Walking Black, White and Blue Lines

Chapter 4 Illusion of Inclusion

Chapter 5 Pain and Pleasure of a New Start

Chapter 6 Undercover Operations

Chapter 7 Surviving Toronto Drug Section

Chapter 8 Keeping World Leaders Safe

Chapter 9 Ottawa Bound

Chapter 10 Struggle for Survival

Chapter 11 Creating Little Calvins

Chapter 12 Major Betrayal of RCMP Core Values

Chapter 13 Stand Up or Bow Out

Chapter 14 Integrity Intact





Short-listed - The Miramichi Reader's "The Very Best!" Book Awards (Non-Fiction) - 2020

Black Cop is an enlightening and persuasive read.

- Miramichi Reader

"Black Cop is a book well worth the buying and the reading — not just for those interested in the big‑picture issues of racism in policing in Canada but also for Nova Scotians who want to know how we got to where we are."

- Stephen Kimber Halifax Examiner

"A blunt and shocking expose on the ignorance and prejudice that still exists in many of Canada's law enforcement operations ... This book is must read for anyone who works in the criminal justice system in Canada, students in criminology or those who are considering whether or not to go into policing as a career."

- Ottawa Life Magazine

CALVIN LAWRENCE joined the Halifax police department in 1969. As an amateur boxer, he was slated to represent Canada at the 1976 Olympics, which ended after opposition from his police force. He joined the Mounties, where he served in detachments in Holyrood, Newfoundland; Toronto, Ontario; Edmonton, Alberta; Regina, Saskatchewan; and Ottawa, Ontario. He received numerous citations and awards for his service, including a 25-year service medal and was a long-time member of the Association of Black Law Enforcers. When his career was stymied by Mountie officials, he lodged a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. His case resulted in a confidential settlement and he was awarded a veteran's disability pension. He now lectures on police issues, teaches boxing and participates in several volunteer organizations. He lives in Ottawa.

MILES HOWE is a PhD candidate and an instructor at Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario. A former freelance journalist based in Halifax, he is also the author of Debriefing Elsipogtog: The Anatomy of a Struggle. Miles lives in Kingston.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Date: 17th September 2019
ISBN: 9781459414488
Format: 9in x 6in
20 b&w photographs

Binding: Electronic book text
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019
ISBN: 9781459414501
Format: PDF
20 b&w photographs

Binding: Electronic book text, 272 pages
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019
ISBN: 9781459414495
Format: EPUB
20 b&w photographs

BISAC Code:  BIO000000, BIO027000, POL014000
Imprint: Lorimer


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