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Calgary Stampeder Weighs In on Race-Based DUI Stops

Tagged Criminal Defence Blog

May 19, 2015

Jon Cornish, a banker here in Calgary and also one of the most successful and respected running backs in the Canadian Football League, has weighed in on the flurry of race-based police encounters and protests in the United States.

First on Twitter and then in comments to the press, Cornish remained subdued and and careful in his word choice while stating his belief that he has been stopped for suspected DUIs and other infractions due to the color of his skin.

"Having experienced, in quotation marks, being ‘randomly selected’ by police officers for DUI stops and following me home—I’ve experienced this. No cop has shot at me, but I understand that I can’t really mess around, and I can’t joke with a cop.”

Cornish went on to detail certain encounters he had with police in Kansas, where he attended university, and though he appears to hold no animosity towards the Calgary Police Service he indicated that similar tensions exist here at home.

There is no evidence that Cornish was ever charged with, much less convicted for, a DUI, either here in Calgary or during his time in the United States.

His comment also shows an understanding that being pulled over for a suspected DUI, whatever the motive, is far removed from the shooting incidents and other deaths at the hands of police in the United States that have made international news. He suggests, however, that the racial bias at work in police departments that allows these tragedies to occur is not something Calgary is immune to.

“If you’re in a position of power, you better have a great deal of respect for that power," Cornish said. "When you exhibit it, you better have a good reason behind it.”

This entry was tagged Criminal Defence Blog and posted on May 19, 2015

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