The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) accused the RCMP of fuelling racial tensions in the initial press release in the investigation in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie.
Boushie, a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation, was killed late Tuesday afternoon on a rural property near Biggar, Sask., in the RM of Glenside.
“The news release the RCMP issued the following day provided just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified. The messaging in an RCMP news release should not fuel racial tensions,” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said in a statement released Friday.
The FSIN said the Aug. 10 news release was biased, and are calling for a review of communications policies and writing guidelines.
According to police, a vehicle with five people entered the property at around 5:30 p.m. CT.
They were confronted by the owners and a verbal exchange happened between the parties.
WATCH: The recent shooting death of a young indigenous man on a farm near Biggar, SK has resulted in racially charged social media posts that had even the Premier stepping in to say stop. Meaghan Craig reports.
A gun was fired at some point, striking Boushie who had arrived in the vehicle.
He was declared dead at the scene.
Gerald Stanley, 54, is charged with second-degree murder. He made his first appearance in North Battleford provincial court, and is in remand until his next
appearance on Aug. 18.
Three occupants from the vehicle, one female youth, one adult female, and one adult male, were taken into custody on a related theft investigation. All three were released Wednesday.
The RCMP said charges are still considered pending further investigation.
“The media’s initial portrayal of the event made the incident sound like a crime was about to be committed by the passengers in the car,” Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Clint Wuttunee said in a statement. “The media based their reports on the RCMP’s news release.”
“We will be meeting with FSIN and discussing their concerns and looking at ways we can move forward. Looking at that hopefully there are ways we can come to a solution,” Supt. Rob Cameron said on Friday night.
Supt. Cameron described the situation as “concerning” and the RCMP were quick to have preliminary discussions with the FSIN earlier on Friday.
“There was perception that it was theft related and these youth were there for ulterior motives, but that wasn’t the case,” FSIN Vice Chief Kimberly Jonathan said about Wednesday’s press release.
“So there was discussions on communications and the push that a hate crime be investigated,” Jonathan added.
Supt. Cameron said the RCMP would not comment further on the shooting investigation, as its ongoing, and will let the court process run its course.