Saskatoon

Colten Boushie case a 'painful reminder' racism is global, says daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

The case of Colten Boushie is attracting international attention, including harsh words from the daughter of slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

Case attracts international attention

Colten Boushie was killed on a Saskatchewan farm in 2016. (The Canadian Press)

Colten Boushie's death and the subsequent trial and acquittal of the man charged with killing him is attracting international attention, including harsh words from the daughter of slain civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley was acquitted last week in the 2016 shooting death of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation man. The verdict was followed by rallies and calls of "justice for Colten." Many criticized the lack of visibly Indigenous people on the jury and other elements of the case.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice King posted on social media that the Boushie case is "a painful reminder that racism and systemic injustice" aren't just U.S. issues.

Bernice King has weighed in on the case of Colten Boushie, saying racism is an international issue. (Tami Chappell/Reuters)

"Colonialism leaves in its wake death and destruction across the globe," said King, CEO of Atlanta's The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

"The more we shun change, the more death and destruction comes."

They see this case and it resonates with them.- Robert Innes, University of Saskatchewan Indigenous studies professor

Following King's 1968 assassination, his widow created the centre. Its aim is to educate people about King, and to fight for the rights of African Americans and other marginalized groups.

King signed off the post speaking directly to Boushie with the words "You matter."

Debbie Baptiste, mother of Colten Boushie, holds up a photo of her son as she speaks to reporters in the Foyer of the House of Commons after a day of meetings on Parliament Hill. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Human rights groups, the New York Times and others have taken an interest in the case outside of Canada.

University of Saskatchewan Indigenous studies professor Robert Innes said the attention isn't surprising.

Innes said African Americans and Indigenous people in the U.S. face similar issues.

"They see this case and it resonates with them. They've seen it so often in their own communities in dealing with the justice system in the United States."

Many Canadians pride themselves as being morally superior to Americans, he said. This case reverses those roles and has tainted Canada's image, he said.

"People in the United States are looking at Canada right now, some of them and questioning, saying 'Wow, this is not what we thought Canadians were like,'" Innes said.

The Crown has three more weeks to file any appeal. The Boushie family and others have called for an inquest.

After meeting with the Boushie family in Ottawa this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to improve the justice system for Indigenous people.

now