Hundreds outraged by the “unjust” verdict of a white man found not guilty in the death of an Indigenous man gathered Saturday at Nathan Phillips Square.
There were protests across the country after Saskatchewan farmer, Gerald Stanley, 56, was cleared of second degree murder charges on Friday for shooting Colten Boushie, 22, in the back of the head in Aug., 2016.
Boushie and friends had been on Stanley’s farm and had gotten into an altercation with Stanley and his family.
During the trial, Stanley said the handgun accidentally had gone off.
“It’s OK to be angry. Think about what this means to our young people. It says their lives don’t matter and that is a lie,” said Sharina at the Toronto protest.
Ilian, a community activist, said the verdict wasn’t a surprise as there were no Indigenous people on the jury.
“This is a critical moment and we can’t accept this injustice. The excuse that it was an accident and you get found not guilty is not justice,” Ilian said.
There have been calls for an inquiry.
Boushie’s family had previously expressed concern that the deck was stacked against them during the court process.
Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle, said there needs to be a change.
“Something has to be done about this. The government, Justin Trudeau, we ask you to give us Indigenous people justice,” Baptiste said.
There was an almost immediate response from Ottawa.
Devastating news tonight for the family & friends of #ColtenBoushie. My thoughts & prayers are with you in your time of grief & pain. We all have more to do to improve justice & fairness for Indigenous Canadians.
— Jane Philpott (@janephilpott) February 10, 2018
“I’m not going to comment on the process that led us to this point today, but I am going to say we have come to this point as a country far too many times,” the Prime Minister Trudeau said at a news conference in Los Angeles.
“Indigenous people across this country are angry, they’re heartbroken, and I know Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better.” the prime minister said.
Just spoke with @Puglaas. I can't imagine the grief and sorrow the Boushie family is feeling tonight. Sending love to them from the US.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 10, 2018
The trial heard that Boushie was shot in the head while he was sitting in an SUV that had been driven onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask.
The SUV 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 property in search of help with a flat tire.
Stanley testified that he fired warning shots to scare the group off. He said the fatal shot occurred when he reached into the SUV to grab the keys out of the ignition and his gun “just went off.