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'We're all hurting:' Indigenous leaders speak on Stanley verdict

11 February 2018

Hundreds outraged by the "unjust" verdict of a white man found not guilty in the death of an Indigenous man gathered Saturday at Nathan Phillips Square.

On the issue of jury selection process in Canada, while she wouldn't speak to the Stanley trial case in particular, Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said in a statement that Peremptory Challenges in the jury selection process have always been part of the common law and the Canadian justice system, so legislative reforms would need to be "carefully studied and considered".

A lawyer not involved in the trial but who's representing Boushie's family said the request shows the jury is taking its job seriously.

Protests are being staged across Canada in response to the acquittal of a White Saskatchewan farmer who fatally shot an Indigenous man. Stanley testified he fired some warning shots in the air before approaching the SUV. Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Clint Wuttunee called the ruling "absolutely perverse".

"The Indigenous people have been denied of justice today throughout Canada", said Alvin Baptiste, uncle of Colten Boushie. "A White jury came out with a verdict of not guilty for Gerald Stanley, who shot and killed my nephew".

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Similar rallies to the one in Vancouver are planned in several Canadian cities including Ottawa, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Toronto.

Stanley testified during the trial that he never meant to shoot anyone, and that the handgun he was holding accidentally went off.

Cameron said "a lot of questions have to be answered".

"We started at the police station because the police are the first people that failed Colten. However, we did not see it", she said outside court.

Scott Spencer, Stanley's attorney, was not available for comment.

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"One side is very unhappy tonight, but there is never any victor in a case like this", he said.

Boushie and four other young people from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation reserve drove onto Stanley's rural property in an SUV on August 9, 2016.

Dyck is an Indigenous senator from Saskatchewan, where the trial in Battleford polarized citizens racial views and politicians warned people to react responsibly. As she got into a vehicle, she screamed, "We're dead".

Most agreed that Friday's verdict was a poignant example of the systemic racism that Indigenous people face.

"I want to respect culture and I want to do what's fair", said Popescul. "I believe we are going to have feel our way out of it".

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"That's coming from the family and we're going to support what they're asking for", said Grand Chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Sheila North, speaking following the Justice for Colten rally at The Forks.

'We're all hurting:' Indigenous leaders speak on Stanley verdict