Police watchdog launches probe into RCMP investigation of Colten Boushie’s death

The CRCC for the RCMP says it is looking into how police handled the death of Colten Boushie. File / Global News

A police watchdog is reviewing the investigation into the shooting death of an Indigenous man on a Saskatchewan farm.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP said Tuesday it will look into how the Mounties handled the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie.

“I am satisfied that it is in the public interest to launch an independent investigation into this matter,” the commission’s acting chairman, Guy Bujold, said in a release.

Boushie, a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation, died in 2016 when he and four others in an SUV drove onto a farm near Biggar, Sask. Last month, a jury acquitted 56-year-old Gerald Stanley in Boushie’s death, a verdict that led to protests across the country.

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Boushie’s family had been calling for a review of the RCMP investigation.

His mother has said that when officers came to notify her about her son’s death in August 2016, officers were insensitive, started searching her home without permission and asked her if she’d been drinking.

An internal RCMP investigation, done by a senior Indigenous officer, absolved the police force.

The commission will review the RCMP’s dismissal of the Boushie family’s initial public complaint.

It will also examine how the RCMP conducted the investigation and the events that followed Boushie’s death, including the way his next of kin was notified, the search of his mother’s home and information released by RCMP to the media.

“All of those issues, which came to our attention in the course of examining this, have led me to believe there is a public interest,” Bujold told The Canadian Press.

He said the commission will hire an investigator in the coming months.

“It’ll take some time for the investigator to be identified and then afterward the procedure will run its course,” Bujold said.

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“They will have to interview members. They will have to interview witnesses, and there is an opportunity for the original complainant – the family or through their counsel – to provide us with views themselves that we would take into account.”

The commission is to write an initial report that will be sent to the RCMP for comment. That will be followed by a final report with findings and recommendations that could lead to changes in RCMP practices or policy.

The report will be made public once it is completed, he said.

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