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


Family says Indigenous Elder Humiliated by Search at Sask. Canadian Tire Store

Gordon Albert, 78, searched by an employee at the North Battleford Canadian Tire.

Elder from Sweetgrass First Nation searched at North Battleford Canadian Tire store

First Nations elder says he was humiliated when an employee searched him at a Canadian Tire store in Saskatchewan earlier this week.

“They really, really embarrassed us,” said Gordon Albert, 78, of the Sweetgrass First Nation Thursday. “They thought that since we’re native we’d steal something.”

Albert was in North Battleford shopping for a gift with his wife Marlene and son Deryk on Monday, but they didn’t find what they were looking for.

The anti-theft sensor by the door beeped as they left and an employee stopped them and asked him to take off his coat, his wife said.

“That lady took his cigarettes out, took his phone out. She was just going through his pockets,” she said. “He said, ‘What else do you want me to take off? My clothes?”‘

The employee never explicitly accused her husband of stealing, but the encounter was upsetting, she said.

The couple have been driving buses on the Sweetgrass reserve and in town for decades and are well known for their work with the local minor hockey team, she said.

They go to Canadian Tire often to shop for gardening supplies or things for their vehicle and have never had an experience like this.

Gordon Albert said the suggestion that he would steal makes no sense.

“I make enough money that I can buy whatever I want. I don’t have to go that route,” he said.

Canadian Tire said in a statement that staff asked to inspect Albert’s belongings, as they normally would when an alarm goes off.

They determined that the sensor was triggered by something they had bought elsewhere.

“Recent conversations between the store and Mr. Albert and his family have been positive and productive, and the store considered the matter to have been resolved,” the company said.

Albert said the store manager called to apologize the next day.

“He said ‘sorry, sorry sorry.’ I said ‘that’s not going to help,”‘ he said.

He said he told the manager that Canadian Tire had been one of his favourite stores in North Battleford.

Albert said he won’t shop there again.

But he said he can also understand why the store would want to crack down on theft.

Deryk Albert said he got a call from the manager, too.

“He said, ‘It wasn’t a race thing’ and I said, ‘It was a race thing,”‘ he said.

It was embarrassing to have everyone in the store looking at them, he said.

“It just offended me … I was pretty upset all that day.”

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, said the retail industry needs a wake-up call.

“The family is still considering their options, but at the very least, I am recommending that they file a human rights complaint,” said Chief Bobby Cameron.

Gordon Albert said he’s not keen on doing that.

“I’m kind of forgetting about it,” he said. “Why cry over spilled milk?”

By Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press 


Brother of Indigenous man shot and killed in North Battleford claims RCMP chased wrong car

Brother claims RCMP chased wrong car

The brother of an Indigenous man shot and killed by RCMP during a police chase in North Battleford claims officers were pursuing the wrong car.

“The story of him being a suspect, of chasing a guy, is wrong. It just so happens he was in a white, four-door car in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Landin Blanko told CTV News on Monday.

“He was an innocent man, shot and being blamed for something he didn’t actually do.”

Brydon Whitstone

Saskatchewan RCMP shoot and kill Indigenous man in North Battleford


Brydon Whitstone, 22, of Onion Lake, Sask., is dead after North Battleford RCMP fired shots on Saturday night. (David Hutton/CBC NEWS)

An Indigenous man is dead after he was shot by RCMP in North Battleford, Sask.

Brydon Whitstone, 22, of the Onion Lake Cree Nation, died after being shot by RCMP on Saturday.

Police said the incident unfolded just before 9 p.m.

According to CBC News, RCMP reported receiving a call from a man, saying he had been chased and shot at from a vehicle.

“Members located the suspect vehicle and initiated a brief pursuit,” RCMP Chief Supt. Maureen Levy, criminal operations officer for Saskatchewan, told media in Regina on Sunday.

The chase ended shortly after Whitmore allegedly rammed a police cruiser.

In response to the driver’s actions following the pursuit, a RCMP member discharged their firearm.

Whitstone, died as a result of his injuries en route to hospital.

The Regina Police Service will conduct an independent investigation.

Bobby Cameron, chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), spoke on the Brent Loucks Show on 650 CKOM Monday morning in response to the shooting.

He said he’d been getting calls and messages throughout the weekend, with many questioning the details around the RCMP shooting.

Cameron said the situation furthers the mistrust First Nations people have about the justice system, and noted that there is also a lack of trust in the independent investigation.

He said he was concerned police may have been too quick to use lethal force.

By: RPM Staff

Battlefords RCMP Deny Facebook Allegations Of Bad Treatment Of Native Woman

Battlefords RCMP respond to allegations against an unnamed officer posted on Facebook. (CBC)

Battlefords RCMP respond to allegations against an unnamed officer posted on Facebook. (CBC)

CBC News, Posted: Nov 13, 2015

Mounties issue news release giving their own version of events

Allegations on Facebook against RCMP over an incident in North Battleford have prompted the Mounties to issue a news release contradicting the allegations, and giving their own version of events.

The allegations appeared on the Facebook page of a closed group called North Battleford Uncensored Boots and Salutes.

The Facebook post accuses an RCMP officer of callous behaviour towards “an elderly native woman” found in distress by the side of the road on Carlton Trail Wednesday evening.

Two young men were apparently already on the scene, trying to help the woman, when the officer arrived.

According to the Facebook post, the men were trying to get the woman medical help, while the officer told them she would be taken to the detachment in the back of the police cruiser and spend the night in the “drunk tank”.

The Facebook account said the men refused to leave until an ambulance arrived and took the woman to hospital.

RCMP say officer tried to help

In a release issued at 6:30 p.m. CST Friday, the RCMP said the officer asked the woman if she was able to get inside the police vehicle so she could warm up.

The RCMP also said the officer called EMS for the woman, after which one of the men told her they had already called EMS.

“At no point on November 11, 2015 was this adult female in RCMP custody or cells”, the RCMP said in their release.

And while the Facebook post reported the woman’s ankles and legs were bound together by torn strips of cloth, the RCMP said the woman had “bandages on her legs from a pre-existing medical condition.”

It also said it takes all complaints about the actions of its members very seriously, and asked anyone who witnessed the incident or has information about it to contact the Battlefords detachment.

No one with the RCMP was available to comment further Friday evening.

City councillor looks into matter

The CBC attempted to contact the author of the Facebook post and the two men, without success.

However, city councillor Ray Fox said he had contacted the RCMP to look into the matter, just as the Mounties were preparing to issue their statement.

Fox told the CBC he thought it was unusual for the RCMP to put out a release in response to a Facebook post.

He said he knows the woman, and that she was still in hospital as of Friday afternoon.

Fox described her as someone with a “sad, sad history”, “the epitome of a street person” with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and a victim of violence.

He said people including himself had tried to help her, but “she’s unreachable almost”.

Fox also remarked that it would have been better if people had waited until the facts came out before passing judgement and posting on Facebook, saying “it’s being fuelled by almost a paranoia”.


North Battleford Indigenous rights billboard removed after racist vandalism

The letters KKK can be seen in black spray paint on a billboard promoting indigenous rights in North Battleford Sask. Officials in the small city are condemning the act of vandalism.

The letters KKK can be seen in black spray paint on a billboard promoting indigenous rights in North Battleford Sask. Officials in the small city are condemning the act of vandalism.

Oct 27, 2014

It was a message of hope defaced by one of hate.

Officials in North Battleford Sask. are condemning an act of what appears to be racist vandalism, after the letters “KKK” were spray painted on billboard promoting Indigenous rights.

Designed by Mary Culbertson following an artists’ workshop about reconciliation hosted by Emily Carr University of Art and Design associate professor Sandra Semchuk, the idea behind the billboard was created at the city’s Chapel Gallery this summer.

The billboard, based on a story Culbertson was told by friend and business partner Wes George when he attended the 2004 discussions on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva Switzerland, was then placed on the east side of North Battleford’s 100 Street.

Artist hoped billboard sparked discussion

Depicting an Indigenous elder holding an eagle feather, the billboard reads, “When your people first came over here across the water, we allowed you self-determination. All we ask is for that in return.”

Then, around Oct. 21, the letters ‘KKK’ were spray painted in black appeared on the billboard. They were removed a few days later.

Culbertson a 39-year-old woman from the Saulteaux Keeseekoose First Nation, who holds a juris doctor of law is now working to become a lawyer with a focus on indigenous rights.

She said she was saddened by the act of vandalism, but not surprised.

“I was waiting for something to happen,” she said.

“Growing up a native person in the prairies and from what I’ve encountered in my life, it’s expected,” she said. “That somebody is going to say something about your rights, when you try and assert them and when you want to educate people about them.”

She explained she wanted the billboard to start a dialogue about reconciliation for both sides of the community, noting she feels the historical trauma and abuses experienced by Aboriginal peoples have caused them to lose their identity.

“We’ve lost our identity and I wanted them to have pride in their identity and who they were by seeing this,” she said. “And I wanted the non-indigenous people to realize that statement and what it meant.”

City calls vandalism cowardly

A statement from the City of North Battleford referred to the act as “cheap and cowardly” and Mayor Ian Hamilton said he was shocked when he learned of the incident.

“I’m not positive that anybody targeted this particular billboard for the message that it was portraying,” he said, noting another billboard was vandalized in a similar fashion.

“But having said that, absolutely if it was, it’s reprehensible and our city takes great umbrage with what that message sends to our Aboriginal community,” he said. “Because we have a very, very strong presence of urban Aboriginals and as well, we’re the hub of eight first nations in our immediate vicinity.”

“We value the contributions and the heritage and the diversity that Aboriginal communities provide to our community,” he said.

Sgt. Neil Tremblay, with the North Battleford RCMP said officers opened a file surrounding the instance of vandalism after an inquiry by Metro, but said the graffiti had gone unreported, noting instances of hateful vandalism are uncommon.

“This is fairly unique,” he said

“There are times when you’re going to get some vulgar and or insulting words, that may have happened in the past, but I’ve never heard of this particular symbol, at least in the recent past.”

North Battleford is located roughly 140 km north west of Saskatoon.