“Justice for Colten” chants echoed across the nation on Saturday in response to what some are calling a “shocking” verdict in the Gerald Stanley murder trial.
Stanley was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter in relation to the shooting death of Colten Boushie.
The case laid bare tense race relations in the province since the tragic day in 2016.
Friday’s not guilty verdict may lead to a continuation of these tensions, however, the response to the verdict was immediate and widespread with many calling for change to the Canadian justice system.
In cities across Canada on Saturday thousands of people gathered at rallies in support of the family of Colten Boushie.
Those cities included Regina, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver.
In Saskatoon several hundreds of people packed the sidewalks and streets outside the Court of Queens Bench.
People carried signs that read “people over property” and “we stand United against hate.”
Colten Boushie’s cousin Jade Tootoosis addressed the immense crowd and thanked them for being there. She spoke on the difficulty she has had digesting the verdict.
The crowd cheered her on with some yelling “you are not alone.”
Tootoosis encouraged the crowd to be vocal for change moving forward.
“You give me strength, you give my family strength and you will be the momentum for change in the justice system,” she said.
Tootoosis made it clear the fight is not over.
FSIN Vice-Chief David Pratt and Saskatoon Tribal Chief Mark Arcand also addressed the crowd.
Vice-Chief Pratt spoke on the reconciliation work still ahead for Canadians.
“We want more than words and tears…we want actions,” said Pratt.
Chief Arcand spoke highly of the reconciliation efforts taking place in the city of Saskatoon itself, but pleaded with the rest of the province to reconcile.
“We have to stand united to make a difference for our children,” said Arcand.
In the immediate aftermath of the verdict Crown Prosecutors would not confirm whether they plan to appeal.
Based on the immediate reactions of the family, the FSIN and others close to the case it would appear an appeal is desired.
Stanley’s Defence lawyer Scott Spencer has still not commented on the verdict.
(PHOTO – Hundreds gathered at a Colten Boushie rally in Saskatoon. Photo by Joel Willick)