Winnipeg rally calls for 'justice for the family of Colten Boushie' following not-guilty verdict

​People who rallied for change to Canada's justice system in Winnipeg Saturday believe Colten Boushie's family deserves better.

Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley was acquitted of 2nd-degree murder Friday night

Davey Gott says the not-guilty verdict in Gerald Stanley's second-degree murder trial, delivered Friday night, brought him to tears. He joined hundreds in Winnipeg who rallied Saturday to call for changes to Canada's justice system in light of the verdict. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

​People who rallied for change to Canada's justice system in Winnipeg Saturday believe Colten Boushie's family deserves better. 

A jury acquitted Gerald Stanley, the Saskatchewan farmer who was charged with second-degree murder in Boushie's death, Friday night. 

The decision sparked outrage from across the country and triggered several rallies in different cities Saturday.

"I think the decision was tragic and put this whole movement towards reconciliation back 150 years," said Leah Gazan who organized a last-minute rally and march in Winnipeg Saturday afternoon that hundreds attended.

"It's time that justice is served for Indigenous people on Turtle Island."

Colten Boushie, left, was fatally shot in August 2016. A jury in Battleford, Sask., acquitted Gerald Stanley, right, on Friday. (Facebook/Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

Hundreds packed into the Oodena Circle for a 2 p.m. rally that Indigenous leaders spoke at while Winnipeggers held signs denouncing the jury's decision.

'I'm scared'

Davey Gott said the verdict brought him to tears. "As a young Indigenous man, I'm scared."

Stanley, 56, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Boushie, a 22-year-old Indigenous man.

Boushie and four others from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation drove onto Stanley's property near Biggar, Sask., on Aug. 9, 2016, and Boushie was shot in the head.

Stanley testified during the trial he didn't mean to shoot anyone, saying the handgun he was holding accidentally went off while expert witnesses testified the pistol was working properly and could only be fired by pulling the trigger.

Grandma Gerry Shingoose said a prayer at the rally and said the intent for her Saturday was to bring peace to the Boushie family.

"We wanted to show our love and support to them." The rally at The Forks turned into a march for justice that made a stop at the Law Courts.

People were vocal as they shouted and held signs demanding change. Some spoke out about the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in Canadian jails while making reference to the next door Remand Centre.

"No more neocolonialism" shouted one woman. Racial tensions have been high since the onset of Boushie's death.

Boushie's family has said there were no Indigenous people on the 12-person jury that acquitted Stanley but CBC News has not been able to independently determine whether any of the jurors have Indigenous backgrounds.

"We are asking for changes to the Canadian criminal justice system and justice for the family of Colten Boushie," rally organizers said in a media release posted to Facebook Saturday.

"I speculate if the tables were turned, if the skin colour was on the other side I think we would have had a different outcome," added Gazan.

After leaving the Law Courts, people marched with a police escort to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights where the rally ended.

Gazan said Saturday was the just the beginning of many new actions that will be planned in protest of Canada's "two-tiered racist judicial system." Boushie's family is calling for an appeal.

About the Author

Austin Grabish

Reporter

Austin Grabish landed his first byline when he was just 18. Before joining CBC, he reported for several outlets with work running across the country. He studied human rights in university and holds a degree and diploma in communications. Connect with him here: austin.grabish@cbc.ca