HALIFAX - A rally is planned in Halifax Saturday evening calling for justice in the case of Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man shot to death on a Saskatchewan farm in 2016.
Gerald Stanley, 56, was found not guilty of second-degree murder on Friday in the death of the 22-year-old resident of Red Pheasant First Nation.
A jury in Battleford, Sask., deliberated for 13 hours before it reached a verdict, one that’s drawn considerable outrage from First Nations groups across the country.
The Indigenous Joint Action Coalition has called for a day of action Saturday to show solidarity and support for the Boushie family, with a rally planned for Halifax outside the courthouse on Spring Garden Road at 6 p.m.
The jury heard during the trial that Boushie was shot in the head by Stanley while he was inside an SUV that he and a group had driven on to Stanley's farm.
The group had been drinking and tried to break into a nearby truck but went to Stanley's farm looking for help with a flat tire.
Several members of Boushie's family broke down after the verdict was announced, a decision Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Clint Wuttunee called "absolutely perverse."
"Colten Boushie was shot in the back of the head at point blank range, he said. “Nevertheless an all white jury formed the twisted view of that obvious truth and found Stanley not guilty."
Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, took to Twitter to express his belief that justice was not served in the case.
Justice was not found in the Court of Queen's Bench in North Battleford today. We will never give up on justice for First Nations in Saskatchewan or anywhere else in Canada. Our Treaties are about maintaining peace and justice between Nations.#ColtenBoushie— Perry Bellegarde (@perrybellegarde) February 10, 2018
Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all tweeted about the case on Friday evening.
Thank you PM @JustinTrudeau. My thoughts are with the family of Colton Boushie tonight. I truly feel your pain and I hear all of your voices. As a country we can and must do better - I am committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians. https://t.co/HvjV0bofrQ— Jody Wilson-Raybould (@Puglaas) February 10, 2018
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
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
Boushie's family say they plan to fight for an appeal in the case.
-With files from the Canadian Press