InFocus: Justice for Colten Boushie, MMIWG inquiry extension and Thunder Bay police

The decision by the Saskatchewan Crown attorney not to appeal the acquittal of Gerald Stanley, policing in Thunder Bay and a possible extension for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls were all up for discussion on InFocus.

“The justice system has not typically done well by Indigenous people” says lawyer Julian Falconer.

Falconer says the family of Colten Boushie has the right to file a civil lawsuit over his death but feels the outcome may not be what the family is hoping for.

“I’m not saying they shouldn’t do a lawsuit, but expecting to right this wrong through a lawsuit I think is a pretty high expectation and I fear people would be disappointed,” he says “I’m not saying they shouldn’t do it, there are certainly grounds to do it.”

The Saskatchewan Crown recently announced it would not appeal the acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the shooting death of the 22 year old from Red Pheasant First Nation. Also joining the discussion was APTN Investigates video journalist Rob Smith who will release his documentary “Justice for Colten” on APTN on Mar. 16.

Host Dennis Ward, video journalist Willow Fiddler and Falconer also discussed a recent report on the police handling of the death of a First Nations man in Thunder Bay.

For Falconer, it was just another example of missteps made by the city police service when investigating the deaths of Indigenous peoples.

“In the case of Stacy DeBungee, it was revealed that basic policing 101 steps wasn’t taken,” says Falconer “The people last seen with Stacey DeBungee alive were not brought in for questioning. It’s extraordinary, to be honest a fender bender in Thunder Bay would have gotten more attention by way of investigation than the death of this Indigenous man. So it’s a very sad commentary of the state of the Thunder Bay police.”

A possible two-year extension for the national inquiry was also discussed. MMIWG family member Alaya McIvor does not think the commissioners deserve another two years.

“I think they should just focus on the mandate of two years and finish there and they continuously re-victimized families, survivors, across this country and just leave them and go on to the next community and re-victimize some more,” says McIvor.

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