Stanley, a 56-year-old white man, fatally shot Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Indigenous man, in 2016, but was acquitted of second-degree murder last week. The jury’s decision has prompted anger across the country.
BATTLEFORD, SASK.—Gerald Stanley, a 56-year-old white farmer, shot Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Indigenous man, on Stanley’s property near Biggar, Sask., in the early evening of Aug. 9, 2016. Boushie died instantly from a single bullet to the back of the head as he sat in the driver’s seat of an SUV. A jury without any visibly Indigenous members acquitted Stanley last week of second-degree murder, which sparked angry protests alleging racism.
Boushie, from the Red Pheasant First Nation, had spent most of the day with Eric Meechance, Cassidy Cross, Kiora Wuttunee and Belinda Jackson. An autopsy report showed Boushie had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal driving limit when he died.
Meechance testified the group had been drinking and swimming in the South Saskatchewan River. They were in Wuttunee’s SUV, a grey Ford Escape, and heading back to the reserve when they got a leak in a tire. They stopped at a farm about 15 kilometres from Stanley’s property.
Cross initially told police that the group was checking out a truck on the farm, but told court they were actually there to steal. He testified he used a rifle to break into the truck and, during the break-in, the stock of the gun broke off. The group left and Cross drove to Stanley’s farm. He said the group wanted to ask for help with the flat tire.
Meechance testified that he and Cross were on an all-terrain vehicle in Stanley’s yard, but ran when someone started yelling. Back in their SUV, Meechance said Cross drove into a parked vehicle and a man then smashed their windshield. He and Cross got out and started running.
Jackson testified that an older man came around to the passenger side of the SUV where Boushie was sitting and shot him twice in the head. She previously told police she thought a woman shot Boushie. Boushie was shot once and was seated in the driver’s seat.
Sheldon Stanley testified he was working on a fence with his father when they heard the ATV start and thought it was being stolen. They ran toward the SUV. He threw a hammer at the windshield, then ran into the house to grab his truck keys.
He said he heard two shots while he was inside and a third shot as he came out. His father was holding a gun in one hand and a magazine in the other and told him “it just went off.”
The son said two women in the back seat got out and started yelling. They pulled Boushie out of the SUV and a gun missing its stock fell out of the vehicle with the body. He said the women began hitting his mother, who had been mowing the lawn.