Twenty-four hours after the RCMP formally announced it had cleared its members of any misconduct in the hours following Colten Boushie‘s death on Aug. 9, 2016, on a farm outside of Biggar, Sask., his family issued a statement of disgust, saying officers made mistakes that day in the way they were treated and that police don’t trust Indigenous people on the prairie.
According to the lawyer for the Boushie family, four hours after Colten lost his life, five to seven RCMP cruisers pulled into their yard.
It was then that RCMP conducted a search of the home without a warrant and made insensitive comments to Colten’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, like asking if she had been drinking, after notifying her of her son’s death.
“The investigation concluded that other officers didn’t hear that, therefore it didn’t happen,” Chris Murphy, the attorney for the Boushie family, said.
According to the report following the internal investigation, Baptiste’s allegations against members were deemed unfounded or their actions were justified leading the investigators to clear all 10 members of misconduct.
A process, Baptiste wasn’t hopeful would conclude in any wrongdoing said Murphy, given that the inspector who conducted it while First Nations is also a member with the RCMP.
“We are extremely upset and disgusted by the dismissal of the RCMP’s misconduct. There is no reassurance of fairness when they investigate their own.
“My family members re-live the trauma of that day over and over again, and now we are being told that is completely acceptable.
“Officers made mistakes. The individual officers are nothing special, nothing gives them authority or power over people other than their own systems and structure of oppression.
“We know they made mistakes based off their lack of education and judgement.
“They are not trusted by Indigenous people on the prairie.
“How are we to trust the RCMP when they treat us like criminals when we are the victims?”
This from Debbie Baptiste and Colten’s sister Jade Tootoosis in a statement issued by Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) on their behalf on Friday.
“If they are not satisfied with the results of the investigation they can go to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission saying they were not satisfied with that, we want it looked at – at a higher level,” Saskatchewan RCMP Staff Sgt. Rob Embree said.
The Boushie family lawyer said they intend to do just that after so many of the statements made by RCMP about their exchange with the family just don’t add up.
“It appears to me that there is a double standard – when police are dealing with the Indigenous communities versus non-Indigenous communities and that double standard has been solidified by this report,” Murphy said.
When 22-year-old Boushie was shot, his death sparked racial unrest across the province which is still being felt today.
Just months before Gerald Stanley, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder is scheduled to head to trial in the new year and currently remains out on bail.