Rep. Tony Cornish causes stir with 'don't be a thug' Star Tribune opinion

- An opinion piece published Wednesday in the Star Tribune by State Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Vernon Center) is receiving a lot of criticism by readers.

Rep. Cornish, also chair of the Minnesota House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee, wrote in part:

Lately, some advocacy groups have been asking what we can do to "reduce the use of force by police." Well…

1) Don’t be a thug and lead a life of crime so that you come into frequent contact with police.
2) Don’t rob people, don’t use or sell drugs, and don’t beat up your significant other.
3) Don’t hang out on the street after 2 a.m. Go home.


Cornish advises arrestees to keep quiet and obey orders, and if they feel they are being wrongfully treated, "make the complaint later."

He goes on to say, "I was born and raised on a farm, dirt-poor, with eight other kids. My grandpa served time in Stillwater State Prison. My dad only made it through eighth grade, and none of us nine kids has ever received a college degree. We didn’t use that as an excuse to turn to crime."

Cornish tells Fox 9: 'I don't fit the racist mold'

Fox 9 reached out to Cornish following the publication and criticism of his article.

"By people calling me racist, they’re trying to minimize my message. They know my message is true. And it would help in almost all cases if those rules were followed," he said.

So why did he write it? Cornish says, "I just got sick of cops being used as a scapegoat when something goes wrong, and the cops are called to a situation they don’t really want to be in. And something goes wrong because they’re there, and right away, it’s the cop’s fault."

On being called a "racist," the state rep said, "I've got relatives that are black. I’ve gone to five different mission trips in the jungle. I spent big money helping women adopt black kids from Africa. I don’t fit the racist mold. So they should give that a rest."

Criticism from readers

Readers took to the Internet to express their outrage and disapproval of the Star Tribune for publishing his comments.

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