Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says an investigation is underway into a report that an RCMP officer wrote on Facebook that Colten Boushie, a young Cree man who was shot and killed by farmer Gerald Stanley on his rural Saskatchewan property in 2016, “got what he deserved.”
APTN News reported that the poster is a serving RCMP member on the Prairies and made the comments on a private Facebook group used by some officers.
” 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,” reads the post, which has been deleted.
” 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?”
Some group members denounced the comments, while others defended them.
” Obviously this remark is unacceptable and absolutely appalling,” said Goodale on Wednesday.
” It just contradicts everything the RCMP stands for. It is unacceptable, so it’s under very, very serious investigation to determine exactly what has happened here and who is responsible for it.”
Goodale said his department has been in contact with the RCMP and the facts of the case are being reviewed. He said he didn’t know for sure the poster was a police officer.
” If they turn out to be what they appear to be, this is unacceptable and there will be consequences,” he said.
A spokesperson for the RCMP said the Facebook post “is antithetical to the standards of the RCMP.”
” The Facebook group cited is not managed or administered by the RCMP. Regardless, when concerns about disrespectful content believed to be written by an RCMP employee are brought forward, they are and will be investigated and addressed,” said Staff Sgt. Tania Vaughan.
She said the RCMP’s code of conduct covers officers both on and off duty, and extends to social media.
” When using social networking, RCMP members must avoid compromising the integrity of the RCMP or portraying themselves or the organization in a discreditable or disgraceful manner,” said Vaughan.
” The RCMP is committed to the reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples, and improving upon these relationships in every way possible.”
Boushie was shot and killed after he and four others from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation drove onto Stanley’s cattle farm in an SUV in August 2016.
Eric Meechance, who was in the SUV with Boushie the day of the shooting, testified in court that he tried to start an ATV on Stanley’s property but denied trying to steal it.
When Stanley’s son hollered at them, one of Boushie’s other friends tried to drive away, but Stanley’s son smashed the SUV’s window with the suv and a hammer crashed. Stanley fired shots from a pistol as two of the friends ran away from the vehicle.
Stanley testified he never meant to shoot anyone and that the handgun he was holding went off a third time, accidentally, when he tried to reach for the keys to the SUV.
The jury had the option of finding Stanley guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter, or not guilty, according to Chief Justice Martel Popescul, who presided over the trial. He was found not guilty.
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