Man charged with assault after drag artist spat on in Calgary Pride crosswalk

Click to play video 'Video shows Calgary drag artist being spit on while filming on Stephen Avenue' Video shows Calgary drag artist being spit on while filming on Stephen Avenue
(Aug. 3, 2020): Duke Carson, a Calgary drag performer, said they were shooting a video at the Pride sidewalk on Stephen Avenue when a man spat on them. Michael King reports – Aug 3, 2020

Calgary police have charged a man in relation to a “hate-motivated” spitting incident in August that saw a drag king targeted on a downtown street.

Drag artist Duke Carson was filming on a rainbow crosswalk on Stephen Avenue on Aug. 1 when he was spat on by a man walking past.

Read more: Calgary drag artist spat on while filming on Stephen Avenue

“I was just so shocked,” Carson said at the time.

“I’ve had all sorts of homophobic slurs and derogatory language. I’ve had my ass slapped a couple of times but I’ve never had someone so physically disgusted with my presence, with my existence that they felt need to spit on me.”

In video of the incident, two men can be seen walking past Carson, who said he was preparing to do a handstand when the incident happened. When they reach the sidewalk, one of the men turned and spat at Carson.

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“Hate-motivated crimes are recognizable crimes, like assault, theft, vandalism or any other crime, where the offender was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate that is based on one of nine personal characteristics of the victim,” police said in a news release.

“These types of offences not only harm the victim but can have larger impacts in the community. They can leave others who share the same characteristic concerned that they too may be targeted, which undermines their feeling of safety in our city.”

Calgary police said the video, along with CCTV footage, helped them identify the man believed to be in the video. Last Thursday, he was arrested with the help of Tsuut’ina police.

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Craig Brendon McGillis, 37, of Tsuut’ina Nation is facing a one charge of assault in relation to the incident.

Police said in instances of hate-motivated crimes, evidence of hate is considered by the courts afterward, if a person is convicted of the connected crime. If, during sentencing, the judge decided hate motivated the crime, the aggravating factor can be added to the sentence.

— With files from Global News’ Michael King