An RCMP officer who claims to police a First Nations community allegedly wrote that Colten Boushie “got what he deserved” when he was shot and killed by Gerald Stanley, according to APTN News.
APTN obtained comments from a private Facebook group made up of Canadian police officers, some of whom were discussing Stanley’s murder acquittal in the death of Boushie. One of the comments reportedly came from an RCMP officer from the Prairies who believes Stanley, a white farmer, was justified in killing Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man.
Stanley was acquitted on Feb. 9 of both second-degree murder and manslaughter by an all-white jury.
“This should never have been allowed to be about race…crimes were committed and a jury found the man not guilty in protecting his home and family. It should be sending a message to the criminal element that this crap is not going to be tolerated and if you value your life then stay away from what isn’t yours,” the Facebook post says.
“Too bad the kid died but he got what he deserved. How many of us work on or near reserves and are getting fed up with the race card being used every time someone gets caught breaking the law?”
The comments suggests the officer is the ignorant of the facts of the case, if not the law itself. Stanley did not use self-defence as a justification for shooting Boushie in August 2016. He testified that the bullet that killed Boushie, hitting him in the back of the head, was the result of a hang fire—a delay between the time the trigger is pulled and the time the round goes off. In Canada, it is not legal to use lethal force to protect your property.
According to APTN, the discussion came from a group called News Stories that Matter to or May Impact RCMP, which has more than 1,000 members.
In a statement to VICE, the RCMP said it is investigating the post and that on- and off-duty officers are bound to the force's code of conduct. It said the group is not monitored by the RCMP.
"The Facebook post reproduced is antithetical to the standards of the RCMP and the manner in which its employees are bound to conduct themselves," the statement says.
"When using social networking, RCMP members must avoid compromising the integrity of the RCMP or portraying themselves or the organization in a disgraceful or discreditable manner."
The statement also said the RCMP is "committed to the reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples."
Stanley's acquittal has been a flashpoint across the country, with many, including Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould calling for a change in how the criminal justice system treats Indigenous Canadians.
Saskatchewan-based lawyer Rob Feist told VICE the Facebook comments are troubling, especially given that the RCMP's treatment of Boushie's family after his death is currently under heavy scrutiny.
"Regardless of whether the comments were made by active members, they will do nothing to inspire public confidence in the RCMP's relationship with Indigenous communities," he said, adding no Canadian should support vigilante justice.
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