Mom of man shot with nail gun wants incident considered hate crime

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PICTOU — Exactly one month to the day that he was shot with an air compressed nail gun, Nhlanhla Dlamini, 21, stood up and, along with his family, held a peaceful protest in both Halifax and Pictou. Although Nhlanhla and his father were in Halifax, his mother, Stacy Dlamini, was at the protest at the Pictou Justice Centre.

“People of colour cannot just keep putting their head down,” said Dlamini to the crowd gathered outside the Justice Centre. She ran through the story of her son who she says had faced discrimination in the workplace while working on a construction site in Abercrombie. She added that after he was shot with the nail gun, he fell to the ground in pain and the nail was dug out of his body by someone there, causing air to leak into his chest cavity, partially collapsing one of his lungs.

“What we hope comes out of this… is a serious commitment by folks,” she said.

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The community is calling for an end to racism and discrimination all over Nova Scotia as well as for those who might see discrimination of any form happen, to stand up and put a stop to it by saying something or doing something about it.

“We can’t just keep talking about it, we have to act.”

A number of other speakers also joined in the rally including Clyde Fraser, who is on the New Glasgow Race Relations and anti-discrimination committee, Henderson Paris and a representative from Amnesty International.

The accused in Dlamini’s case will appear in court December 21 on one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. His mother added that they would like to see the charge bumped up to attempted murder due to the nature of the crime.

“We want people to view this as a hate crime,” she said, adding that the family wanted to hold the rallies on Friday as a way to create awareness around the incident so people are aware that issues like this still exist in Nova Scotia and beyond.