The Canadian Press
The family of Colten Boushie, a man fatally shot on a Saskatchewan farm in August is collecting names for a petition demanding an out-of-province lead investigator and a Crown prosecutor on the case.
Jade Tootoosis, who was a cousin of Boushie, says the family is making the request because of how they feel they’ve been treated in the case as well as allegations that evidence has been mishandled.
The lawyer representing Boushie’s family said last week that the SUV the 22-year-old was riding in when he was shot was outside in a towing company parking lot a month after the killing. He said it was then moved to a salvage yard.
Chris Murphy said police told him a blood-spatter analysis hadn’t been done, and he says any evidence collected now could be tainted.
The farm owner, 54-year-old Gerald Stanley, has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge and is free on bail.
Tootoosis says the family feels a lead RCMP investigator and a prosecutor from outside the province would be less biased.
“Saskatchewan just seems to be a very well-connected province, especially with it being so farmer-based,” said Tootoosis, who lives in Edmonton.
“We feel that somebody from outside of the province would provide a more accountable process.”
The petition is addressed to Saskatchewan Justice Minister Gordon Wyant and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. It says the ministry and the RCMP have lost the trust of those who have signed the document, and that a comprehensive investigation and a rigorous prosecution are the only way to restore confidence.
The RCMP did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on the petition. Saskatchewan’s justice ministry did not immediately offer any comment.
Boushie’s cousin, Eric Meechance, who was one of the others in the car, has said they were heading home to the Red Pheasant First Nation on Aug. 9 after an afternoon of swimming when they got a flat tire and sought help.
According to information RCMP used to obtain a search warrant of the farm, Gerald Stanley’s son, Sheldon, called police to report that five people drove onto his parent’s farmyard and were trying to steal vehicles.
The information says Boushie was shot in the head with a handgun.
The case has stirred racial tensions in the province. Some comments on social media sites have been anti-First Nation, while others have supported vigilante justice against the suspect.
Tootoosis said family members began collecting names on printed copies of the petition on October 21 in North Battleford, Regina, Saskatoon and Edmonton. Other volunteers have helped in other cities, and she said the Assembly of First Nations helped set up an online version on Change.org last week.
On Thursday, the AFN tweeted a link to the petition and asked people to support it.
Tootoosis said the names will be gathered on Monday, which would have been Boushie’s 23rd birthday.
“Given the fact that the investigation is already proceeding, we would like to submit it (the petition) as soon as possible,” Tootoosis said.