OTTAWA – When seven police officers arrived at Debbie Baptiste’s home in August 2016, surrounded the house and were carrying guns, they informed her that her son was dead. Instead of comforting the sad mother, they asked if she had been drinking and told her to ‘get it together’.
The callous treatment of me. Baptiste, a Cree woman, as well as other incidents of racial discrimination by the police against her family, were set out in an independent review released to the public on Monday investigating police behavior and their investigation into the death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old man from Cree in Saskatchewan.
The sharp report by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police found that the officers Ms. Baptists “treated with so much insensitivity that her treatment was a prima facie case of discrimination.” The watchdog group, which has no authority to impose fines, also found that the police did not have evidence at the crime scene where Mr. Boushie was killed, did not protect and destroyed records related to the handling of the case.
“It felt like I was fighting a battle forever that could never be won,” she said. Baptists said at a news conference Monday. ‘The injustices of racism in the courtroom, the discrimination must stop. Things need to change. We need a change for the next generation. ‘
Mr. Boushie was shot dead after he and four other indigenous people drove onto Gerald Stanley’s property in August 2016. Mr. Stanley testified during the trial that he believed the intent was theft, which he and his son tried to prevent.
Mr. Stanley was acquitted in 2018 after testifying that he had Mr. Boushie inadvertently shot in the back of the head when his semi-automatic pistol experienced a rare mechanical malfunction. The ruling shocked many Native Canadians.
In a country where politicians were usually indecent when asked about court decisions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who made the healing of Canada’s relations with his indigenous people a priority, posted a message of support and with the Boushie family to the trial will meet in 2018.
Mr. Trudeau told reporters on Monday that the treatment of Boushie’s family and friends was “unacceptable”, adding: “Unfortunately we have seen examples of systemic racism within the RCMP, within many of our institutions, and we need to do better.”
The National Police Federation, a trade union representing the mounted police, opposed the report’s findings, saying it promotes a perspective that despises our members and casts doubt on their impartiality, dedication and professionalism. In a separate response to the report, the union presented the report of the commission of events to Ms. Baptist’s house dismissed it, claiming it “only reflects the Boushie family’s interpretation of the interaction”, and does not reflect the reports of attending officials.
“The RCMP. union still asks people in this country not to believe this woman, ”Chris Murphy, a lawyer for the Boushie family, told reporters. “Shame on them.”
The killings and acquittals remain a source of anger for many Native Americans who have argued that the case has exposed significant flaws in Canada’s legal system. Mr. Boushie’s family and others have said police are racially discriminating against them, while being a farmer who is eventually charged with murder.
Mr. Boushie was swimming with friends when a tire ran centrally on their Ford Escape near Stanley’s home in Saskatchewan. Mr. Stanley testified that he and his son thought the group, many of whom were intoxicated, tried to steal vehicles. The two men came out with guns and also attacked the Escape with a hammer. After Boushie was killed, the others fled.
As a result, the commission found, police turned to Ms. Baptist’s home on the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, her native community, collapsed with two goals: to notify her of the death of Mr. Boushie and to look for a member of the group Boushie’s group. friends.
Officers armed with guns entered the house of Ms. Baptists surround and tell her about the death of her son when she came to the front porch. After hearing the news, Baptists collapsed and were brought inside by police.
‘Me. Baptists were upset about the news they had just given her, and one member told her to “get it together,” the report said. “One or more members of the RCMP smell her breath” apparently due to signs of alcohol.
Although they did not search the necessary warrant, police officers found the house of Ms. Baptists search.
Back at the crime scene, the report found lazy investigative practices. Little effort was made to gather forensic evidence in the immediate aftermath and little was done to protect evidence at the scene. Despite the predictions about bad weather, the Ford Escape in which Mr. Boushie was killed, not covered, which, according to the commission, caused the rain to wash away before the forensic experts arrived about three days later.
The commission said it also had “significant concerns” about the failure to visit the crime scene when the case was taken over. It also criticized the police for not telling Stanley, his wife and son not to discuss the matter with each other before making statements and that they could travel together to a mounted police station in a family car that was part of the crime scene. .
The report also noted that the police had destroyed the recordings and transcripts of their communication from the time of the murder, which did follow the standard custody records, but that they knew that Boushie’s family and the commission had lodged complaints. these files would be relevant. .
“We have recognized that systemic racism exists within the RCMP,” the Saskatchewan Mounted Police Division said in a statement, adding that he intends to implement the recommendations in the commission’s report.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Brenda Lucki, who was given the opportunity to comment on the commission’s findings before his release, said she accepted the key findings, although she rejected some minor points in the report.
“This whole legal system needs to be restored from above,” said Bobby Cameron, head of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents the first nations in Saskatchewan, at a news conference. ‘Brenda Lucki, what are you going to do rather than just say we agree with what has been found? Great story. Brenda Lucki, do something. ‘