Boushie verdict sparks outrage in B.C.
Indigenous leaders in British Columbia have added their cries to a chorus of outrage across the country after a white farmer was acquitted Friday in the killing of a young Cree man near Battleford, Sask.
On Saturday, hundreds protested in downtown Vancouver against a jury finding Gerald Stanley not guilty in the 2016 shooting of Colten Boushie on Stanley’s farm. But a Conservative MP in B.C. lambasted several political leaders’ criticisms of the verdict.
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC), which represents most First Nations in the province, said it was “shocked and outraged” by the verdict from a jury with no Indigenous members, as a result of Stanley’s defence lawyer vetoing any Indigenous jury members before the trial.
Boushie’s homicide, and the RCMP’S aggressive treatment of his family and First Nation following the killing, has inflamed tensions across Canada.
“Stanley shot Boushie in the back of the head,” the UBCIC stated in a release Monday. “His legal counsel convinced the seemingly all-white jury that his semi-automatic handgun went off accidentally — an extremely rare ‘hang-fire.’”
UBCIC president Stewart Phillip said he is “totally and completely infuriated at the absolute injustice” in the case.
“Colten Boushie did nothing to deserve being shot by Stanley,” Phillip stated. “His mother did nothing to deserve having her home raided shortly after Colten was shot — she had just lost a son.
“The disturbing facts of this case shine a glaringly harsh light on the sheer and blatant racism that exists both in Canadian society and in the Canadian justice system.”
Following the verdict, Canada’s attorney general expressed concern about the low numbers of Indigenous people on juries and said reforms will be considered.
“The under representation of Indigenous jurors is an issue in several provinces ,” Vancouver granville MP JodyWil son-ray bould said in a statement, “and it is a reality I find concerning.”
And she tweeted Friday her thoughts for Boushie’s family: “As a country we can and must do better — I am committed to working every day to ensure justice for all Canadians.”
Meanwhile, B.C. Aboriginal Justice Council criminal justice co-chair Doug White said the case reveals the need for fundamental reforms to address Indigenous concerns.
Hundreds rallied in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, a day after a jury acquitted white farmer Gerald Stanley, who fatally shot Colten Boushie in 2016.