‘Ab­so­lute in­jus­tice’

Boushie ver­dict sparks out­rage in B.C.

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - Front Page - David P. ball

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.

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Hun­dreds ral­lied in down­town Van­cou­ver on Satur­day, a day af­ter a jury ac­quit­ted white farmer Ger­ald Stan­ley, who fa­tally shot Colten Boushie in 2016.

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