In Saskatchewan, Indigenous people are worried that a new trespassing plan may stoke racial tensions

Debbie Baptiste, mother of Colten Boushie, holds a photo of her son during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 14, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

  • The Saskatchewan throne speech last month included a reference to changing trespassing laws to ‘better address the appropriate balance between the rights of rural landowners and members of the public’

A Saskatchewan grandmother who was confronted by a farmer with a gun says changing trespassing laws probably won’t stop crime but could increase racial tension.

Angela Bishop, a Metis lawyer, was driving on a rural road in Alberta in September with her two grandchildren who are visibly Indigenous. They were looking for a place to get out, stretch and go for a short walk during a long drive to Edmonton.

She noticed a vehicle driving up behind her, so she stopped.

A man got out and started to yell at her to get off his road, she said, despite her attempts to explain why she was there. She said she spotted a gun inside his vehicle.

Terrified for her grandchildren, Bishop said she tried to drive away — but the man pursued her.

She eventually pulled over, called law enforcement and requested a police escort. Officers told her that, in fact, it was a public road and she could be there.

As a rural land owner in Saskatchewan, Bishop said she can sympathize with frustration about property crime, but a life is more important.

“My concern would be that they believe they are legally entitled to take the law into their own hands,” she said from Quintana Roo state in Mexico.

The Saskatchewan throne speech last month included a reference to changing trespassing laws to “better address the appropriate balance between the rights of rural landowners and members of the public.”

The government said in an emailed statement that Justice Minister Don Morgan is prepared to meet with Indigenous people to discuss their concerns.

The province has already sought public input on whether access to rural property should require prior permission from a landowner, regardless of the activity, and if not doing so should be illegal.

A lawyer representing the family of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man fatally shot by farmer Gerald Stanley in August 2016, said she is worried the Saskatchewan Party government is engaged in political posturing which could stoke racial fear.

A Saskatchewan farmer was acquitted in the fatal shooting of a 22-year old Indigenous man. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

“Indigenous people aren’t feeling safe that the authorities or the police are going to protect them or that they are not going to be shot at,” Eleanore Sunchild said from Battleford, Sask.

“It seems like there’s more of an approval to take vigilante justice in your hands, and if you are an Indigenous victim, nothing is going to happen to the non-native that shot you.”

Stanley was acquitted of second-degree murder after testifying that his gun went off accidentally. He said he was trying to scare away young people he thought were stealing from him. The Crown decided not to appeal.

Sunchild said the throne speech sends the message that the farmer was right to shoot the Indigenous man and that trespassing fears are justified.

Sunchild wonders what advice she would give her own children if they have car trouble or need help on a rural road.

“Do I tell them to go ask a farmer? I don’t think so.”

Heather Bear, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said the Boushie trial and provincial response have many Indigenous people feeling afraid.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

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Family of Colten Boushie files lawsuits against Gerald Stanley and RCMP

Gerald Stanley walks out of North Battleford provincial court after his first preliminary hearing on April 3, 2017. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

Almost two years after the fatal shooting of Colten Boushie his family has filed lawsuits against Gerald Stanley and the RCMP seeking total damages of more than $1.86 million.

The Star Phoenix reports, Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, and two of Boushie’s brothers are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the RCMP. Baptiste is the lone plaintiff in the lawsuit against Stanley.

Boushie, 22, was shot and killed on Aug. 9, 2016 while sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV that was driven onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask.

In February, Stanley was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Boushie.

According to a statement of claim filed late Wednesday in Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench, the lawsuit against Stanley claims the “death of Colten Boushie is a direct result of the negligent, reckless or intentional acts of the defendant, Gerald Stanley.”

In the suit, the family claims Stanley failed to assess or monitor the risk of the situation and failed to contact police to deal with any potential risk. In the lawsuit, the family claims Stanley then used “excessive force when it was uncalled for,” shot Boushie at “point blank range” in the back of his head when he wasn’t a threat and did not administer or call for any medical assistance. It also says that Stanley’s wife, Leesa, is a registered nurse and didn’t take any action to provide life-saving measures.

The suit is seeking over $400,000, including $30,000 in damages to be paid directly to Baptiste, $20,000 in funeral expenses, $60,000 in grief counselling, $60,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, $100,000 in lost employment earnings for Baptiste, and $200,000 in “aggravated, exemplary and punitive damages to be proven at trial.”

Debbie Baptiste, the mother of Colten Boushie, holds a photo of him outside provincial court in North Battleford on April 6, 2017. (CTV Saskatoon)

A separate court filing by the family is also calling for $1.45 million in damages to be paid by members of the RCMP.

The lawsuit lists seven RCMP officers as defendants, along with the Attorney General of Canada, and alleges they conducted an “unlawful search” of Baptiste’s home the night of Boushie’s shooting.

The plaintiffs claim the RCMP “deliberately engaged in discrimination by subjecting three proud members of the Red Pheasant First Nation to ridicule, unlawful searches, and humiliating breath tests.”

None of the claims made in the lawsuit have been proven in a court of law.

The defendants have 30 days to respond.

In a statement to media, RCMP said “Our sympathies remain with the family and friends of Colten Boushie, who have suffered such a tragic loss.”

“We are fully cooperating with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (CRCC). The CRCC is investigating the death of Mr. Boushie and the events that followed, including the next of kin notification, the search of the family residence, and the dissemination of media releases. The RCMP’s handling of an initial complaint filed by a family member is also under review by the CRCC,” the statement reads.

RCMP said they had no further comment on the lawsuit, since it was before the courts.

Sask. justice minister says he expects law to be enforced, legislature teepee to come down

The teepee went back up before 7 p.m. CST on Thursday, which was National Indigenous Peoples Day. (Janani Whitfield/CBC)

Don Morgan says Justice for Our Stolen Children camp cannot continue at legislature grounds

One day after a teepee in front of the Saskatchewan Legislature was re-erected, Justice Minister Don Morgan said he expected police to enforce the rule of law, and that the grounds are not intended for overnight camping.

“The facilities just aren’t there for that. We expect that the police would take steps to resolve that and they have,” he said of the police response on June 18, when the teepee was taken down and six people were arrested for obstruction.

The Justice for our Stolen Children Camp was spurred by the acquittals of Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier in the Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine murder trials, respectively.

Three Regina Police Service officers carry a protester to a police vehicle on June 18. (CBC)

Founders of the camp said the intention was to draw attention to Indigenous lives lost or affected by factors like violence, foster care or addictions.

On Thursday — National Indigenous Peoples Day — the camp was re-erected and it remained standing at the site into Friday.

Morgan said he wouldn’t comment on police operations or why they had not dismantled the camp again.

“I would have thought it would have been dealt with now but they’ve indicated it may not be for a short period of time, and we leave it to them to make those calls.”

Police have said they have not taken any enforcement action yet, but are having discussions with all involved parties.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day, protesters held signs showing pictures of police arriving to dismantle the Justice for Our Stolen Children teepee at the Saskatchewan Legislature grounds. (Eagle from Sakimay First Nation/Justice for Our Stolen Children)

Camp organizers have requested meetings with government officials at the site and in the teepee, but Morgan said it wouldn’t be the appropriate site to discuss matters like specific cases of child welfare, even as he committed to having a dialogue with camp organizers.

The legislature and the teepee

Supporters of the camp gathered outside the legislature, with more than one calling attention to the contrasting sights of the legislature and the teepee.

“I don’t really see why it’s such a big issue to this government and to this authority that this teepee is here,” said Chief Nathan Pasap of White Bear First Nations.

“You have a huge building right there behind you, folks — the Saskatchewan Legislature.”

Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Bobby Cameron attended the Justice for Our Stolen Children Camp Friday, calling the teepee our house,’ while the government has its own house in the legislature. (CBC News)

The justice reform camp organizers are calling for is sorely needed in the aftermath of the Boushie and Fontaine cases, he said.

“It’s sad that such a simple thing, a call out for help, such as a teepee and someone camping in it, is such a wrong in a country as great as Canada, as resource rich as Canada is.”

FSIN talks meeting with Moe

Bobby Cameron, chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, was also at the camp, adding his voice in support of First Nations children and calling for them to be able to access good education, care and housing.

“As First Nations people, we will go the distance politically and legally to ensure our First Nations children are protected and that they have the best opportunities in life to succeed,” he said.

Cameron noted he and the government have been in contact, and he hoped to arrange a meeting between government officials, including Premier Scott Moe and Morgan, and camp organizers.

Camp not appropriate, says Morgan

Morgan said he would like to narrow down what protesters are asking for and what actions were within a provincial, rather than federal, scope.

When asked if there was a way for both the protesters and the government to find a mutually agreeable compromise, Morgan suggested that a sign or a protest that took place on the sidewalk would be ways for people to exercise their rights in a free and open democracy.

“A camp that doesn’t comply is something that just doesn’t work.”

CBC News · Posted: Jun 22, 2018

[SOURCE]

Sask. government says Indigenous camp near legislature will ‘disrupt’ Canada Day events

The camp has been set up in front of the Legislature for almost 100 days. Now the provincial government has ordered the campers to leave. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

Camp founder Prescott Demas says he has no plans to pack up

The province has issued an eviction notice to the Justice for our Stolen Children Camp that is set up in Wascana Park across from the Saskatchewan Legislature building.

The Provincial Capital Commission issued a notice to the group — in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and Regina Police Service — that states the group must cease their activities under the Trespassing Act.

The notice says the tents, the teepee and all other property must be removed by 5:00 p.m. CST Tuesday.

“I’m not leaving,” Prescott Demas, one of the founders of the camp, said Tuesdsay morning. “We want justices for our injustices.”

The camp was formed in the wake of the Gerald Stanley and Raymond Cormier acquittals, but the camp’s focus is on all Indigenous children and the issues faced by the community.

Prescott Demas is pictured at the camp on June 5, 2018 — just hours before the camp was supposed to be torn down by. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

As of Tuesday, the camp had been set up for 98 days.

​”In the winter, it was so easy to dismiss us,” Demas said.

“But as winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer, they have events planned here. Now that pushes (them) to get us out of here.”

The government first issued notice on the first day of the camp, said Richard Murray, who is deputy minister of Central Services.

“To be honest with you, you know, we’ve kind of looked the other way for the last close to 100 days,” he said.

Prescott Demas said he wasn’t surprised to see the notices stapled to the trees around the camp. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

Government cites Canada Day concerns

Murray said the government has acted now because of upcoming events and the security team scheduled to work Canada Day raised concerns.

There are several activities like a pancake breakfast, a human flag and beer gardens planned for July 1, so the camp’s presence is “extremely disruptive to Canada Day events and you know, we’re just not looking forward to having to move an event that frankly fills the entire park.”

“It’s disruptive. We’re worried about security of everyone in the park on Canada Day and that’s probably an unneeded disruption there.”

Murray spoke with reporters prior to the 5 p.m. deadline and said an “appropriate course of action” would be decided come 5 p.m. should the group remain on the grounds.

Demas said there was an attempt made to meet with government last week  but officials declined to meet in the teepee.

“That was — is — considered to be an inappropriate meeting location on our side,” said Murray.

The government told the group to leave the day the camp was set up, said Richard Murray, deputy minister of Central Services. (Craig Edwards/CBC)

“The teepee in our minds is an illegal activity in the park.”

Murray said he suggested meeting at the Wascana Place as a “neutral location” because it wasn’t the Legislature Building.

He said he is aware the campers don’t plan to leave, but is “hopeful” they will change their minds.

The group could face criminal charges under the Trespassing Act if they don’t, Murray said.

Deputy Minister of Central Services Richard Murray said five events planned for the park were relocated because of the camp. (Craig Edwards/CBC)

Demas said he doesn’t know how long the camp will stick around and is calling on the government to listen to what the group is saying.

“This is all stolen land. That’s how I feel about it,” Demas said.

Kendall Latimer · CBC News

[SOURCE]

Crown says it won’t appeal not-guilty verdict in Gerald Stanley trial

Gerald Stanley enters the Court of Queen’s Bench for the fifth day of his trial in Battleford, Sask., on Feb. 5, 2018.

The Crown says it won’t appeal the acquittal of a Saskatchewan farmer who was accused of fatally shooting a young Indigenous man in the head.

Last month, a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, who was 22 and from Red Pheasant First Nation.

The Crown says a verdict can’t be appealed because people don’t agree with it or because there may be questions about the investigation.

“The Crown can only appeal legal errors in the course of the trial,” senior prosecutor Anthony Gerein said Wednesday at a news conference.

The trial heard that Boushie was one of five young people who drove an SUV into Stanley’s farmyard near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016. Those in the SUV testified they were looking for help for a flat tire while Stanley told the trial he thought the youths were trying to steal an all-terrain vehicle.

Stanley testified he fired warning shots to scare them away and the gun accidentally went off again when he reached for the keys in the SUV’s ignition.

The case was filled with racial tension from the beginning and the verdict was met with outrage from Boushie’s relatives and their supporters.

Family members met with federal ministers along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask for changes to the justice system and to how juries are selected to better reflect Indigenous people.

Protests were also held around Canada to voice displeasure with the outcome of the case.

“I know there is much sadness about the decision not to appeal, but there can be no appeal because the law does not allow it,” Gerein said.

He said the Crown did not consult with the Boushie family about the legal decision. But Gerein spoke to lawyers on both sides and they informed their clients, he said.

Boushie’s cousin, Jade Tootoosis, has said that the family felt excluded and ignored by the justice system following the shooting.

“I urge no one to be discouraged or distrust the system. We are all in this together and must be united against crime and in the search for justice,” Gerein said.

“Complainants need to come forward when they have been wronged. Witnesses need to come to court and testify, sharing the truth. Good men and women will convict where they are sure it is right.”

On Tuesday, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission launched a review into the RCMP’s investigation into the shooting.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

‘The world knows his name’: rally for Colten Boushie held in Regina exactly one week after verdict

minute-of-silence

Members of the American Indian movement were part of a one-week rally on Friday night, in which people took a minute to remember and honour the memory of Colten Boushie. (CBC News)

Minute of silence held one week after Gerald Stanley found not guilty in Boushie’s death

One week after the verdict in the Gerald Stanley murder trial came down, people gathered in Regina to remember the death of Colten Boushie.

A group of about 60 walked and sang during the Friday night rally, before making their way to a downtown hall. There, they held one minute of silence at 7:30 p.m., to coincide with the time one week earlier, when a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty in Boushie’s shooting death.

Satin Denny, eldest sister to Boushie, stood to give a tearful address. She told those gathered how thankful her family members have been for the support of everyone across Canada, following her brother’s death.

“It’s hard; I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” she said.

Several came to the front to embrace Denny, and to speak about their feelings on the treatment of Indigenous people and their feelings on the need for change.

Murray Stonechild stood to describe some of the difficult things he had seen in his lifetime, as a war veteran, and yet how unsafe he and other Indigenous people felt right at home in Saskatchewan in the wake of Boushie’s death.

However, he said he felt something good would come from the sadness and misfortune of Boushie’s death.

“The world is watching. The world knows his name,” he said.

Stonechild said the federal government is now speaking out, recognizing the need for reform of the justice system.

Groups like Colonialism No More and the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism have been trying to support the Boushie family by holding events like the one-week rally, said organizer Michelle Stewart. They continue to hold events to draw awareness to what she called a “two-tiered” justice system.

“I think what we’re doing right now in Regina and across Canada is demonstrating capacity to continue to hold space until something changes,” she said.

“I hope this is a catalyst for change.”

CBC News · Posted: Feb 16, 2018

[SOURCE]

Fatal Shooting of Colten Boushie A ‘Freak Accident:’ Defence

Colten Boushie, left, was killed in August 2016. Gerald Stanley, right, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

A defence lawyer says an Indigenous teen who died in a shooting on a Saskatchewan farm was the victim of a freak accident.

Gerald Stanley’s lawyer is making his opening arguments before a jury hearing the man’s second-degree murder trial.

Scott Spencer told jurors that 22-year-old Colten Boushie’s death wasn’t justified, but they must put themselves in Stanley’s shoes.

He said the Stanley family was facing intruders on their farm near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016 which created a panic situation.

Spencer suggested it wasn’t unreasonable for warning shots to be fired to scare off the intruders and called the fatal shooting a “freak accident in the course of an unimaginably scary situation.”

Boushie was sitting in the driver’s seat of a grey Ford Escape when he was shot.

“This is not a justified death. It is never right to take somebody’s life. But that’s not what this case is all about,” Spencer told court in Battleford, Sask., on Monday.

“For farm people, your yard is your castle. We have a family. They were working on their ranch. That’s what the day started like for Gerry and his family. What happened is they faced essentially (an) intruder.”

Court has heard an SUV with a flat tire carrying five people drove onto the Stanley farm. The driver testified the group had been drinking during the day and tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but went to the Stanley farm in search of help with the tire.

Stanley’s son has testified that on the day of the shooting, he and his father heard an ATV start and thought it was being stolen. The pair ran toward the SUV and threw a hammer at the windshield as the driver tried to leave the farm.

Sheldon Stanley said he went into the house to get his truck keys and heard two gunshots. He said he heard a third when he came back out. He told court he saw his father, looking sick, with a gun in his hand saying, “It just went off.”

“You have to view it from Gerry’s perspective and what he faced. The fear, the unknown. When you’re in a situation where you have intruders and you don’t have the luxury of being able to wait for police assistance. This case comes down to what’s reasonable,” Spencer said.

“It’s not a self defence. What can you do to protect yourself in those circumstances? You can’t use lethal force but is it reasonable to deal with the circumstance to protect you and your family?”

Spencer suggested Stanley’s gun misfired.

“The reality is the gun just went off. If they would have just stopped … stopped stealing … just walked away he wouldn’t have had to go over there.” said Spencer, who added that Stanley will take the stand to explain what happened.

The Crown wrapped up its case last week.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Gerald Stanley, Accused in Colten Boushie Case, to Stand Trial for Second Degree Murder

Colten Boushie’s family surrounded by support outside the North Battleford courthouse Aug. 18, 2016.

Gerald Stanley committed to stand trial for second degree murder of Colten Boushie

By Red Power Media, Staff | April 06, 2017

The Saskatchewan farmer charged in the shooting death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie has been committed to stand trial.

650 CKOM reports, Gerald Stanley will stand trial in the Court of Queen’s Bench, in North Battleford, on the charge of second degree murder.

The ruling came down Thursday, on the last day of Stanley’s preliminary hearing.

On Aug. 9, 2016, Boushie, a resident of the Red Pheasant First Nation, was a passenger in a car with four other people when he was shot and killed on Stanley’s rural property after the group went to ask for help with a flat tire.

Gerald Stanley leaves North Battleford provincial court on the last day of his preliminary hearing Thursday. A judge ordered him to stand trial on second-degree murder. (Jason Warick/CBC )

The allegations against Stanley have not yet been proven in court.

A trial date has not been set, however the Crown said it would be fall 2017 at the earliest.

All evidence and testimony from Stanley’s preliminary hearing are under a publication ban.

The next scheduled appearance for Stanley is June 26, 1:30 in provincial court on two charges of unsafe storage of a firearm.

RCMP are also looking into laying hate-speech charges over racist comments made online about the Colten Boushie case.

RCMP say that Mounties have “looked into a number of instances of potential hate crimes” over the last few months in Saskatchewan. No charges have yet been laid.

RELATED:

The RCMP was accused of showing bias in its initial media release issued about the shooting.

The way RCMP initially described the shooting death of Boushie fueled racial tensions in Saskatchewan.

Social media exploded with rumours and posts that wished violence on Boushie’s friends and Indigenous people in general.

Hearing attracts rally

CBC News reports, a crowd of nearly 100 people carrying placards reading “Justice for Colten” and “Native Lives Matter!” gathered outside the courthouse on Thursday.

According to the Battlefords News-Optimist, a number of Indigenous leaders, including Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) officials and several area Chiefs, were in attendance decrying the racism they were seeing.

“This is tragic, but again it’s not the first time,” said FSIN vice-chief Heather Bear. She voiced support for laying charges for those who had promoted hate speech on social media in the wake of the tragedy.

At the rally Colten’s cousin Jade Tootoosis stood beside Colten’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, and read a statement on behalf of the family.

“While his death revealed a deep divide in this province, it also brought us here, to this court house where we can come together and ask for a fair trial for everyone involved. We, Colten’s family, hope that this preliminary hearing and the issues that it raises about our relationships with each other, will generate further discussion and dialogue to help us bring our communities together.”

Following the preliminary hearing, crowds broke into chants of “Justice for Colten” after they learned that Stanley had been committed to stand trial.

“I’m pretty sure my brother’s looking down now happy,” said Colten Boushie’s brother, William Boushie, to reporters following the proceedings.

RCMP barricades blocked the road in front of North Battleford Provincial Court for much of the hearing’s, while several officers were stationed outside the building and inside the hallways and courtroom.

The lawyer for the Boushie family, Chris Murphy, said he wasn’t aware of any threats and said he’s never before seen that amount of security at a court case.

Bail Granted To Gerald Stanley, Man Accused In Colten Boushie Shooting

_gerald-stanley-shooter-accused

Gerald Stanley is escorted into the Court of Queen’s Bench in Battleford for a bail hearing on Thursday. (Don Somers/CBC)

54-year-old accused may not possess weapons, must avoid contact with Boushie’s family

CBC News Posted: Aug 19, 2016

Gerald Stanley, the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, has been granted bail.

The 54-year-old accused entered a not guilty plea at North Battleford court on Thursday before being transported to the Court of Queen’s Bench in Battleford for a bail hearing.

After hearing nearly two hours of arguments, judge Neil Gabrielson’s decision was released early Friday evening, setting Stanley’s bail at $10,000 and containing a number of conditions.

Stanley must stay within 6.4 kilometres of his home property, and have no direct contact with the family of Colten Boushie or any witnesses to the incident. He must also not travel within 32 kilometres of the Red Pheasant First Nation — where Boushie was from.

The accused also must not possess any weapons and enrol in the electronic monitoring program.

Defence lawyer Scott Spencer said the decision was not a legal victory, just procedure.

“The family is pleased with the decision,” Spencer said shortly after it was released.

“This decision allows us to properly prepare his defence.”

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice-Chief Kimberly Jonathan has asked for people not to retaliate.

“Again this isn’t the result we wanted but I am calling for calmness and peace in the face of what feels like injustice,” Jonathan said. She advised community members to “take the high road and keep peace.”

More than 200 people rallied outside the courthouses during Stanley’s appearances on Thursday, calling for “justice for Colten.”

Boushie was a passenger in a car with four other people when he was shot and killed on Aug. 9 on a farm near Biggar, Sask. His family says the group was going to ask for help with a flat tire.

His death has sparked racially charged exchanges online, leading to statements of condemnation from Premier Brad Wall, NDP interim leader Trent Wotherspoon and the National Farmers Union.

Stanley makes his next court appearance Sept. 13.

Many of the people gathered outside court as Gerald Stanley made his first appearance rallied for an end to racism in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

Many of the people gathered outside court as Gerald Stanley made his first appearance rallied for an end to racism in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/judge-deliberates-gerald-stanley-bail-1.3727944

Racial Tensions Flare In Saskatchewan After Killing Of First Nations Man

Colten Boushie was killed on a farm near Biggar, Sask. on Aug. 9. (Facebook)

Colten Boushie was killed on a farm near Biggar, Sask. on Aug. 9. (Facebook)

The Canadian Press, Aug. 14, 2016

Racial tensions are flaring in Saskatchewan after the fatal shooting of a First Nations man who relatives say was just looking for help with a flat tire.

Colten Boushie, 22, was killed Tuesday after the vehicle he was in drove onto a farm in the rural municipality of Glenside, west of Saskatoon.

Boushie’s cousin, Eric Meechance, said he and three other friends were also in the car, heading home to the Red Pheasant First Nation after an afternoon spent swimming at a river.

But Meechance said they had a tire blow out and that’s how they ended up at the farm.

“That guy just come out of nowhere and he just smashed our window,” said Meechance.

Meechance said they tried to drive away, but ended up colliding with a parked car. He then ran for safety as gunshots rang out.

“Running is probably what saved all of our lives, you know, because if he’s going to shoot one, he’s probably would have shot us all,” he said.

“He wasn’t shooting to scare us. He was shooting to kill.”

Gerald Stanley, 54, is charged with second-degree murder. He is to make his next court appearance in North Battleford on Aug. 18.

Meechance said Boushie was a hard worker, mowing lawns and cutting wood to earn money.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise $10,000 to help Boushie’s family cover funeral expenses.

Another GoFundMe page has been set up to help Stanley’s wife. The hope is to raise $35,000.

That page has been set up by someone who said they live in the area. It says “much of the farming community around us who know this family know they (are) loving and deserving of some help through a difficult time.”

First Nations leaders say the RCMP news release about the shooting was biased.

The first police news release said that people in the car had been taken into custody as part of a theft investigation.

Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said the RCMP statement “provided just enough prejudicial information” for people to draw the conclusion that the shooting was somehow justified.

“The messaging in an RCMP news release should not fuel racial tensions,” he said.

Chief Clint Wuttunee of the Red Pheasant First Nation said the media’s initial portrayal of the event, based on the RCMP release, made the incident sound like a crime was about to be committed by the passengers in the car.

The FSIN wants a review of the RCMP’s communication policies and writing guidelines.

Supt. Rob Cameron in Regina told reporters late Friday that being called biased is “deeply concerning.”

He wouldn’t comment on specifics of the case but said that RCMP handled the investigation fairly and competently.

“We have heard the concerns of the FSIN and we welcome the opportunity to discuss them and work together to address them,” Cameron said.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde, with the Assembly of First Nations, said he was particularly disturbed by “racist, derogatory comments” about the incident on social media. It’s a stark reminder of “how much work we have to do to eliminate racism and discrimination,” he said.

“In too many ways, this is a sad day for Saskatchewan,” he said in a statement.

Robert Innes, a University of Saskatchewan indigenous studies professor in Regina, said the situation shows the community divide.

“You can see that the racial tension is basically a tinder box in Saskatchewan,” said Innes.

Speaking generally, Innes said some farmers are blaming First Nations people for rural crime. Their mentality is to protect their property, he said.

“So there’s this real fear and contempt towards indigenous men by many white people, to the point where they will shoot before asking questions.”

Innes said indigenous people are angry that Boushie was killed.

He notes that some Caucasians are angry that the young people were even on the farm and believe Stanley is being railroaded by political correctness.

“A lot of people who are talking on social media are happy that the person was shot and killed and believe it was justified. That, to me, is kind of disturbing in a lot of ways.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/racial-tensions-flare-in-saskatchewan-after-killing-of-first-nations-man/article31401323/?cmpid=rss1