Colten Boushie's Murder and the RCMP CoverUp

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Colten Boushie's Murder and the RCMP CoverUp

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC), which is hardly known as being hard-hitting in dealing with police issues, report on how the RCMP dealt with the murder of Colten Boushie once again illustrates the deep systemic discrimination present in the police force. After failing to release the report for a year, the RCMP had the utter gall to say the report would increase the public's confidence in the police force and the police union, of course, said it was biased: the usual BS.

The report found that the initial RCMP reports on Colten's killings focused on him allegedly being involved in stealing, when there was no evidence of that, thereby resulting in massive vitriol pouring down on his family and giving the impression he deserved to be killed, no doubt also making it easier for the killer to be found innocent at trial. When notifying his mother of his death, they approached her house as if they were on a tactical raid, something which Leckie still defends. They then treated her as if she was just another 'drunk Injun' at a time when she was getting the most dreaded news any parent can possibly get.

When RCMP Commissioner Lucki said she accepted the reports findings, one chief asked  rhetorically "What are you going to do about it?" The same can be said of the Liberal government that has allowed the treatment of indigenous people to continue on and on in the same old way and allowed the RCMP to delay the report's release for a year. One thing is for sure: Lucki needs to be fired for this, as well as her many other transgressions.

ETA: Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair needs to go as well for allowing this report to be buried for a year. 

The family of Colten Boushie, the young Indigenous man from Saskatchewan whose shooting death was investigated by the RCMP in 2016, is speaking out following the release of an independent report that found Canada's national police force racially discriminated against Boushie's mother.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has accepted the finding of racial discrimination along with many others detailing numerous police missteps during the investigation, including the mishandling of witnesses and evidence and the insensitive process of notifying Debbie Baptiste of her son's death. ...

The RCMP watchdog, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC), also concludedthat media releases sent by police early in the investigation caused the family further anguish by fuelling perceptions that Boushie's death at the hands of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley was deserved. Baptiste said the experience did much hurt to the family, but they've been able to overcome it thanks to the support of Indigenous people.  "We fought for this justice and we'll continue fighting," Baptiste said of the CRCC's findings. "If Colten could hear me now, he'd be proud that we continued fighting and we never gave up." ...

Boushie, 22, was shot and killed after he and four others from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan drove onto Stanley's property near Biggar, Sask., on Aug. 9, 2016. An altercation occurred between the people in the SUV and Stanley and his son, ending with Stanley fatally shooting Boushie. In February 2018, a jury found Stanley, 56, not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter. ...

In a statement Saturday, the Saskatchewan RCMP said the CRCC's findings and recommendations will help increase the public's confidence in the police force, while a union representing some RCMP members, the National Police Federation, said the CRCC's work was biased against police and omitted some crucial facts. ...

 The CRCC found evidence of discrimination during the next-of-kin notification process when it came to "the police's conduct towards Ms. Baptiste with respect to her sobriety and her credibility." The family had accused one officer of telling the grieving Baptiste to "get it together" and asking if she had been drinking. "One or more RCMP members smelled her breath," the commission wrote. ...

Eleanore Sunchild, a lawyer representing the family, told the news conference that was not acceptable.  "When she fell to the floor, after they told her her son was dead, they had the nerve to smell her breath," Sunchild said, summarizing the CRCC's findings. Baptiste told officers Boushie's dinner was waiting in the microwave, the CRCC wrote. "Then they even checked the microwave where she had put her son's dinner to make sure that she was telling the truth," Sunchild said.  "If that doesn't speak of discrimination and racism, I don't know what does." ...

The CRCC also found that officers acted on insufficient information when they decided the level of risk justified surrounding Baptiste's house. The RCMP also did not have the family's informed consent to search the house.  RCMP Commission Brenda Lucki defended the tactical approach, citing fears about officer safety at the time, but agreed the resulting next-of-kin notification process and the search of the home were insensitive and lacked good judgment. 

The National Police Federation and its president came under fire during the news conference for its comments on the CRCC's findings over the weekend. Brian Sauvé took the CRCC to task for "unconditionally" accepting the Boushie family's assertion of discrimination. ...

Chief Cameron of the FSIN called on the union to fire Sauvé for his "stupid comments." "Welcome to our world, Brian Sauvé," Cameron said. "We've been living with bias for decades. Welcome to First Nations peoples's lives."

The CRCC also examined the initial media releases the Saskatchewan RCMP issued about Boushie's death. It found they focused disproportionately on property offences linked to Boushie's friends, which cast Boushie in a negative light instead of focusing on the investigation of his killing, and fuelled online vitriol directed at the family. "Ms. Baptiste's sons William and Jace spoke to their last name being 'ruined' and associated with 'thieves,' as well as hateful messages and images about their name on social media," the commission wrote.   "[They] also stated that the media release said more than what the police had told the family and that left them powerless to defend Colten's name." Sunchild, one of the family lawyers, said Monday that those releases set the tone for public discussion  of the shooting. She said they gave Canadians permission to spew hatred toward the family, even recently. "I read the comments on the weekend in response to these articles about the CRCC's reporting and the hatred is the same.The social media comments are awful," Sunchild said.  ...

The commission recommended that a change already made by the Saskatchewan RCMP — having Indigenous officers review media releases discussing serious incidents involving Indigenous people — be made nationwide. Lucki agreed.  ...

Lucki had the commission's findings and recommendations about the family's allegations of mistreatment in hand for more than a year before she responded, according to the CRCC. That response was needed in order to make the findings public. Baptiste said it was "pure torture" waiting for the results of the CRCC's investigation. "[It] felt like we were swept under the carpet," she said.


This is not the first report that damns the RCMP however it means nothing since the RCMP has no actual oversight. Both the Commissioner and the legislation needs amending immediately to bring this para-military force under civilian control. Commissioners can and do ignore these kinds of reports and only they have the power to make any changes to the RCMP.

You state that this matter is of significant public interest.

I also consider the issues raised in your correspondence to be of significant public interest. For this reason, the Commission has in the past conducted an extensive and thorough investigation into many of the same issues, in the Chairperson-Initiated Complaint and Public Interest Investigation Into the RCMP's Response to Anti-Shale Gas Protests in Kent County, New Brunswick ("the Kent County report"), relating to the RCMP's policing of anti-shale gas protests in New Brunswick. In that 116-page interim report, the Commission made 37 findings and 12 recommendations on a variety of topics related to the policing of protests, particularly with regard to Indigenous-led protests.

In accordance with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act ("the RCMP Act"), the Commission sent its report to the RCMP in March 2019, and is awaiting the RCMP Commissioner's response. Once this response is received and considered, the Commission will make its final findings and recommendations. The interim and final reports, as well as the RCMP's response, will then be made available to the public. The Commission also completed interim reports into 21 individual complaints related to the Kent County protests, and is awaiting responses from the RCMP.

It is in light of this previous report that, after careful consideration, I have decided not to initiate a public interest investigation into the matters you raise in your correspondence at this time. This is not because I do not consider these issues to be of significant importance. On the contrary, I have determined that it is not in the public interest at this time to commence such a process because the Commission has already provided extensive guidance to the RCMP, by way of the interim findings and recommendations made in the Kent County report and the 21 individual reports related to these events, about the very issues you raise with regard to the current situation in British Columbia. As such, it would not be in the public interest to possibly delay the resolution of the issues being raised by the individuals affected in this instance by conducting an extensive public interest process to examine the broader principles applicable, when the guidance already provided by the Commission in the Kent County matter can be applied to the allegations raised here.


Most of what was written in the media about these two reports is not a surprise to me.  But there is one thing that happened that illustrates what justice looks like for Indigenous people in Saskatchewan and in the rest of Canada.  It was the RCMP’s deletion of communication records during the time of Colten Boushie’s killing.  Heads should be rolling over this, but of course nothing will happen.  It also makes me wonder if all the evidence were collected according to standard procedure, what the final verdict would have been.  After some thought, I realized the verdict would have been the same.  In North Battleford, Saskatchewan, signs have been popping up saying that “White Lives Matter”. But, in reality, what is tacitly understood by the justice system and other Canadian institutions is that “White lives matter more than anyone else’s”.


Hey zazzo, good to see you again and good points. This case is a perfect example of how 'the more things change the more they stay the same'.