'Justice for Colten' rally draws dozens in Vancouver after not-guilty verdict

Gerald Stanley
Liam Richards  
Saskatoon StarPhoenix

A flood of racist comments suggests Saskatchewan has a long way to go in reconciling mistreatment - past and present - of the province's indigenous population.

Trudeau addressed the call at a news conference in Los Angeles where he was discussing global trade.

Local Indigenous leaders asked for solidarity, while calling on changes to the justice system.

What's the difference b/n an all-White jury in #Mississippi in 1955 exonerating a White man accused of murdering a Black boy, say #EmmettTill & an all-White jury in #Saskatchewan in 2018 exonerating a White man accused of murdering an #Indigenous young men, say #ColtenBoushie?

After firing the warnings, Stanley said he believed the pistol was empty.

"White people - they run the court system", said Debbie Baptiste at a rally in North Battleford, Sask., one day after farmer Gerald Stanley was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Batiste's son, Colten Boushie.

Gerald Stanley, 56, was charged after the 22-year-old Boushie was shot and killed during a 2016 altercation on Stanley's property near Biggar, Sask. Stanley's defence argued the gun went off accidentally. She said she wasn't surprised by the verdict because there weren't any Asian, Indigenous or black people on the jury.

For the past 17 months, the case had been hotly debated in Battleford, stirring deep feelings about the treatment - past and present - of the province's indigenous population.

While emotions remained raw, they were tempered by a sense of hope that Boushie's death and Stanley's acquittal could lead to change. Kautz has since stepped down from the council.

Winnipeg Centre member of Parliament Robert-Falcon Ouellette, who is originally from Red Pheasant First Nation - the same First Nation in Saskatchewan Boushie came from - called Boushie's death an "abject failure of our society to make sure that this didn't happen".

Following that decision, a day of action was organized to show support for the Boushie family. They also said the case has exposed a lack of progress in Trudeau's reconciliation effort.

"Colten Boushie was shot in the back of the head at point-blank range".

"This is how they treat us First Nations people".

"There was no representation for Indigenous people".

Under representation is a product of many factors - the often prohibitive travel involved for Indigenous jurors getting to a courthouse, distrust of the system and the use of documentation to build a jury roll that favours non-Indigenous jurors.

"Enough", she said. "We're going to fight back ..."

"Saskatchewan is just beginning, I don't even know if we have really started on reconciliation", she said. "I think the perception that's been created here is just terrible in terms of the integrity of that trial and whether racism played a part". "And that's why I'm here", she told CP in Ottawa.

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