Home News Concordia student alleges racial profiling

Concordia student alleges racial profiling

By Archives November 4, 2008

Sunday night was supposed to be a time to unwind after the season for the Concordia men’s rugby team. But Courtney Bishop, the team’s fullback, found it hard to relax when Montreal police allegedly pointed a gun at him.
The night began with a few drinks at the home of captain Eric Van Thiel. Afterwards, about a dozen team members decided to head to Sir Winston Churchill Pub on Crescent Street. Bishop, the only black player in the group, said he was denied entry because his jeans were too baggy and didn’t fit the dress code.
“It was ridiculous,” Bishop said. “Dan (Thomassin) went in before me and his jeans were worse than mine. They even had a hole in the crotch.”
After some arguing, a second bouncer arrived on the scene, armed with a nightstick. Bishop said there was a bit more disagreement and a few friendly shoves before the group decided to head to Le Social, about one block away.
Before they could get there though, the Montreal police showed up.
“I actually didn’t notice the cops until one of our guys had his arms in the air. That’s when the cops told me to get on the ground. When I turned around they had their guns out and pointed at me,” said Bishop. “I put up my hands right away and tried to figure out what was going on.”
Montreal police Constable Laurent Gingras said Bishop threatened the doorman, saying he was armed with a gun. “Someone called 911 with information and a description of the suspect,” he said. When officers got the description, they intercepted the group at the corner of De Maisonneuve and Bishop St.
“He was handcuffed and searched,” Gingras said. “Then he was released after the search did not reveal weapons on him.”
But the athlete didn’t know why the cops were after him. Even though he repeatedly asked the cops what he had done, the officers didn’t offer any answers. He said he was told the bouncers at Winnie’s had called him in for being in possession of a gun only after being put in the back of a cruiser.
Bishop claims one of his teammates has a cell phone video showing him face down on the pavement with at least one cop having his gun drawn.
“The whole team was there supporting me,” said Bishop. “They were explaining to the cops what had happened.”
Since the allegation was false and Bishop hadn’t done anything wrong he thinks this is a case of racial profiling.
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m not the type of guy to get aggressive. I was the only black guy there and this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me. I try to avoid certain bars but when you’re with a group of guys who want to go out you just kind of go with it,” said Bishop. “It’s just not the way I wanted to end the season with the guys.”