The Raw Data
Unspun and unbiased. These are the facts.
The family of Colten Boushie, a 22-year old man who was fatally shot in August 2016, is scheduled to meet with Canadian cabinet members in Ottawa, following the acquittal of Gerald Stanley, 56, who shot Boushie. After the verdict, Boushie’s family members said they “saw no justice.” Rallies protesting the verdict and calling for legal reforms were held in several Canadian cities during the weekend. In Canada, an appeal court cannot overturn a jury acquittal.
On Monday, Boushie’s mother, uncle and cousin reportedly met with two ministers responsible for indigenous affairs, The New York Times reported. Chris Murphy, a lawyer for the family, confirmed they would also meet with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday.
Last Friday, a 12-person jury in Battleford, Saskatchewan, found Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Boushie, who was a member of the Red Pheasant Cree First Nation. According to the prosecution, Boushie and a group of friends pulled into Stanley’s farm due to a flat tire. Stanley said he thought they were trying to steal a vehicle from the farm. The Times reported that evidence at the trial indicated the group had tried to steal a car at another farm, and that a toxicology report indicated a high level of alcohol in Boushie’s system.
Although Canadian law prohibits using a firearm for self-defense or to defend private property, Stanley approached the car armed with a semiautomatic pistol and shot three times. One bullet struck Boushie in the back of the head. Stanley said it was an accidental shooting. In his testimony, he said he thought the gun was not loaded and that it went off. The Times wrote that experts were unable to replicate the mechanical failure.
The Boushie family cited possible irregularities in the investigation, such as that police inspected the victim’s home and surrounding property, and not Stanley’s. They said forensic experts were not brought to the farm, and that two days of rain washed away evidence.
The family and advocates have also attributed the ruling to an all-white jury, consisting of seven women and five men. Their identities and deliberations are to remain classified under Canadian law.
The Boushie family said it would ask for the end of peremptory challenges in jury selection, according to The Globe and Mail. Under Canada’s legal system, defense lawyers are allowed to reject up to 14 jury candidates without providing justification. Boushie’s cousin Jade Tootoosis and Murphy said five people who appeared to be indigenous were rejected as part of the jury.
“We expect to return […] with a list of commitments from parliamentarians outlining the specific steps the government will take to remedy these injustices,” Murphy added.