Johnson gets apology
HALIFAX (CP) — Halifax’s chief of police apologized
to Kirk Johnson on Monday and admitted he was discriminated against
when an officer stopped and seized the heavyweight boxer’s
car five years ago.
Frank Beazley said he was sorry for the difficulty the high-profile
incident caused Johnson and his family. The black athlete was pulled
over in April 1998 for allegedly not having the proper papers for
“I accept the finding that Mr. Johnson was discriminated
against and recognize that this has been a humiliating, stressful
and painful experience,” Beazley told reporters.
“I regret the effect this incident and the inquiry has had
on the black community.”
The apology came a month after the chair of a human rights commission
found that Const. Michael Sanford discriminated against Johnson
when the officer spotted him driving a car with Texas plates and
tinted windows in nearby Dartmouth.
Philip Girard, the head of the inquiry that examined the complaint,
found that “race was a major factor” in the way Sanford
dealt with Johnson.
Girard issued several recommendations to improve sensitivity training
for officers and assess what needs to be done to improve relations
with the black community.
Beazley said the force would accept the suggestions by offering
Sanford and other members training that deals with stereotyping
issues. They will also review sensitivity training to see if it
needs to be improved.
Girard awarded Johnson $10,000 in damages.
Johnson was not immediately available for comment.