The not guilty verdict of a hit and run case that left a Mi’kmaw youth in New Brunswick dead is sparking outrage across the country.
Maurice Johnson, 57, was found not-guilty of a hit and run case that killed 22 year old Brady Francis of Elsipogtog.
“There never seems to be a break, we can never seem to get justice for First Nations people,” said Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock.
In a written statement issued Wednesday, Elisipogtog council said that once again, the justice system failed.
On Feb. 24, 2018, Francis was waiting on the side of the road in Saint Charles, N.B., about ten kilometres north of his home in Elsipogtog, for a ride from his parents when he was struck and killed.
Police said the vehicle had fled the scene before they arrived.
Johnson, who lives in Saint Charles would eventually be charged with failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death. He had pleaded not guilty and requested a trial in French by judge.
“What we’re surviving now is a further, consistent failure of justice for First Nations people,” said the statement. “We have not, and will never grow used to being treated so inhumanely.”
That sentiment is being echoed across the country on social media where the hashtag justiceforbrady was trending on Tuesday.
“I am fully and completely aware that I can be killed and there will be no consequence and repercussions because I’m First Nations in Canada,” wrote Eskasoni Chief Leroy Denny.
Another tweet said, #justiceforbrady is another footnote in Canada’s playbook of how to lessen the lives of Indigenous Peoples,” wrote Mi’kmaw poet Rebecca Thomas on Twitter.
Bernard Daisley, president of the Nova Scotia Women’s Association also shared her thoughts.
“From what happened with the court decision yesterday it was a reality that a blatant disregard to our Indigenous lives still continues to happen in 2020 even after the inquiry and everything else,” she wrote.
According to a spokesperson for the Attorney General in New Brunswick, an appeal is possible.
Charmaine Levi, Francis’ cousin, has started a Go Fund Me page and has raised almost $10,000.
“The Go Fund Me funds will go directly to the family for the appeal expenses and give them the options to continue seeking justice for Brady,” she said.
Many have compared the injustice faced by Francis and his family to high profile cases of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.