A watchdog’s report into how Mounties handled the high-profile shooting death of a young Indigenous man in Saskatchewan has found officers discriminated against his mother.
The finding is detailed in a report by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, which reviewed the investigation into the death of Colten Boushie.
The 22-year-old Cree man from Red Pheasant First Nation was shot and killed in August 2016, while sitting in an SUV which had been driven onto the farm of Gerald Stanley near Biggar, Sask.
A jury acquitted Stanley of second-degree murder after he testified to having fired warning shots and saying his gun “just went off.”
The commission found the way officers treated Boushie’s mother when they notified her of his death amounted to discrimination based on race.
The report detailed how one officer questioned Debbie Baptiste about whether she had been drinking, while someone also told her to “get it together.”
“The RCMP members provided Ms. Baptiste with little information about what had happened to her son, but proceeded to question her and look in places in her home where no person could be hiding,” it read.
“Not only did the RCMP members’ actions show little regard or compassion for Ms. Baptiste’s distress and pain, they compounded her suffering by treating her as if she was lying.”
It says one officer also checked a microwave where Baptiste told them she had placed her son’s dinner.
“After spending the evening fearing that something had happened to her son and just seeing her worst fears realized, Ms. Baptiste saw her home encircled by a large number of armed police officers and had to endure this treatment from the RCMP members who remained in her home for about 20 minutes,” the report read.
“She was then left with a lasting and painful memory of her interactions with the RCMP, and few answers about what had happened to her son.”