Public Safety minister Ralph Goodale has announced an investigation into “appalling” messages that were leaked from a private Facebook group.
The Facebook group called “News Stories that Matter to or May Impact RCMP” describes itself as a “non-partisan closed group for RCMP members past and present, including Civilian members and Public/Municipal Employees who want to stay informed.”
Colten Boushie, 22, was with three others from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan when he was fatally shot inside a vehicle after driving onto Gerald Stanley’s farm near Biggar in August of 2016.
Stanley was acquitted of second-degree murder charges by a 12 member jury earlier this month.
Goodale said the remarks were “appalling, and unacceptable,” adding that “it just contradicts everything the RCMP stands for. It’s under very, very, serious investigation.”
The comments come on the heels of the one of the most racially-charged legal cases in recent Saskatchewan history. With tensions already rising, the comments couldn’t have come at worse time for the RCMP.
“The damage to credibility is very serious, and that’s why we are treating this in a very serious way,” explained Goodale.
The posts have since been deleted, but did nothing to dissuade the growing divide. It even highlighted it, noting that there is “a growing wave of hard working people who are sick of being victims of crime without real justice.”
APTN did not release the name of the person who posted the comments, but they claimed to be an officer who polices a first nation. That information has yet to be confirmed.
The comments quickly divided the Facebook group. One member posted the report claiming the comments made the RCMP look like “a bunch of bigoted a**holes.” Another commented they were “sad to hear an active member of the RCMP would make such a bold statement.”
Other members were irate the posts were shared; despite the fact that the group makes clear it is public, and that members of the media are present.
In a web statement the RCMP said:
“The Facebook post reproduced is antithetical to the standards of the RCMP and the manner in which its employees are bound to conduct themselves. When concerns about disrespectful content believed to be written by an RCMP employee are brought forward, they are and will be investigated and addressed. The RCMP is committed to the reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples, and improving upon these relationships in every way possible.”
The statement does not clarify whether or not an official investigation has already been launched.
Although the Facebook group is not officially connected to the RCMP, when using social media RCMP members “must avoid compromising the integrity of the RCMP or portraying themselves or the organization in a disgraceful or discreditable manner.”