Montreal rally demands justice for Colten Boushie
Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018 8:07AM EST
Dozens of people rallied at Norman Bethune Square on Tuesday to denounce the decision made by a Saskatchewan jury in the Coulten Boushie case.
A jury acquitted Gerald Stanley of killing 22-year-old Boushie in 2016, finding the farmer not guilty of manslaughter or second-degree murder.
"Even though Saskatchewan is so far away that we feel it here and we're going to try to do our best to support Colten's family and to let people know that we've got to do better," said Nakuset, the director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal.
Those at the rally said racism against indigenous people is something that Canadians have to deal with and pointed to the national MMIW hearings and Quebec's hearings following accusations of police abuse as examples of something all Canadians should be paying attention to.
As demonstrators beat drums and chanted songs, they called on Canadians to recognize that the Stanley verdict was a violation of justice.
In 2016 Boushie was one of five indigenous people in an SUV that drove onto Stanley's farm after getting a flat tire.
Stanley then loaded a handgun and fired several times into the air in an attempt to scare off the young men and women, then walked over the to SUV and tried to grab its keys.
Stanley testified that his gun "just went off" when he reached into the SUV and he shot Boushie in the back of the head.
The not-guilty verdict has outraged many people across Canada and prompted the federal government to discuss how juries are formed.
Five indigenous people were rejected by Stanley's lawyer through a process known as a preemptory challenge.
Boushie's family met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday to ask for changes to make juries more inclusive.
"We want things done right and in a good way. For my brother Colten we want it done in a good way and as a family we want to be part of that process," said Boushie's cousin Jade Tootoosis.
Federal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the justice system would be examined but was careful not to question the verdict in Stanley's trial.
"I’m not speaking specifically on the jury in this particular case. What I’m talking about is the broader discussion on jury reform and how the federal government can inject itself in jury reform," she said.
Those protesting in Montreal said the verdict shows there needs to be reform in Canada in order for visible minorities to get justice.
"The injustice of this person not being convicted of at least manslaughter or at least some violation of gun protocol is absurd," said Talia Bellerose.
The Crown has yet to decide if it will appeal the Stanley verdict.
The RCMP is investigating the case and how it was handled following a complaint filed by Boushie's family.