Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

'Justice for Colten' rally draws dozens in Vancouver after not-guilty verdict

'Justice for Colten' rally draws dozens in Vancouver after not-guilty verdict

"Come together and make sure that this does not happen again".

The rally opened with drumming and singing.

"In honor of the late Colten (Coco) Boushie, we are calling for a day of action to show solidarity and support for the Boushie and Baptiste family", reads the page, organized by groups Indigenous Joint Action Coalition and Idle No More.

"The justice system needs to stop locking up our youths". Non-First Nations coming on reserve, they're not going to want to break down.

Closing off the rally, the crowd chanted, "Justice for Colten!".

Kimberly Jonathan, vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, said the verdict is a continuation of the atrocities Indigenous people have faced in Canada, citing the residential school system and the Sixties Scoop. Moments earlier, the presiding judge had urged calm despite the "raw emotions" felt by those in the room. They had been given the options of finding Stanley guilty of second-degree murder, guilty of manslaughter, or not guilty of any crime.

Boushie, 22, was killed on Stanley's farm near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016.

A sign and photo of Colten Boushie sits in front of the Court of Queen's Bench in Battleford, Sask. on the first day of jury deliberation in the trial of Gerald Stanley, the farmer accused of killing Boushie.

On Saturday morning, Sen.

"This is what truth and reconciliation is all about".

"Today I grieve for my country", it begins.

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Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, said he could not imagine "the grief and sorrow the Boushie family is feeling".

"Indigenous people across this country are angry, they're heartbroken", he said.

"If we are making progress, why would it have exploded so much when he got shot?" asked Boushie's cousin Jade Tootoosis. In a news release, the Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs, who represent seven First Nations in the Battleford area, said they were "deeply disturbed" by the verdict and called for "an immediate inquiry examining a number of injustices during this trial including problems with jury selection, the prosecution and trial processes".

"We have to call on governments to work with us and develop [an] anti-racism plan and strategy", he said, adding there should be a complete overhaul of the justice system.

Supporters were expected to gather at Regina's Court of Queen's Bench courthouse at 11 a.m. CST.

Jury selection took place on January 29 in a Battleford community hall, followed by several days of testimony from eyewitnesses, family members, experts and Stanley himself.

A rally will then take place at Saskatoon's Court of Queen's Bench courthouse.

Facebook event pages for rallies and vigils on February 10, Feb. 11 and later in the week quickly spread across social media in the wake of the decision, many labeled "Justice For Colten: Days of Action". "Expect elders and children in attendance".

"That's the hardest thing, as Indigenous people, is to have hope", said Chancy Blackwater, who was in Battleford to support Boushie's family when Stanley testified.

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

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