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The controversy surrounding the shooting of the 22-year-old First Nations man Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan shows no signs of dying down.
In fact, the court’s decision to grant bail to the suspected murderer has just added more fuel to the raging flame and is continuing to divide people over whether or not it is a race issue.
Background and aftermath
The whole chain of events were triggered on August 6 when Boushie and his friends were returning from drinking and swimming and they crashed their vehicle into 54-year-old farmer Gerald Stanley’s property. It was then that they were attacked by Stanley who fatally shot Boushie.
Right from the outset, people raised allegations of racially-motivated murder. The RCMP didn’t help matters much when it took Boushie’s friends into custody, along with the murderer, on suspicions of theft.
The result was an unprecedented outpour of vitriol and outrage on the internet and in public discourse. Twitter erupted in a frenzy of hate-filled and racist tweets while others attempted criticize or defend Stanley for his actions. The online comments reached such intensity that the Premier Brad Wall had to step in and call for people to “rise above intolerance”.
The racial tensions over the murder and its subsequent handling by the police have, if anything, intensified after Justice Neil Gabrielson of the Battleford Court of Queen’s Bench have allowed Stanley to post a $10,000 cash bail on several conditions including staying within a four-mile radius of his home and staying away from the victim’s family.
“There is no doubt that the offence of second degree murder is extremely grave but there are numerous cases of second degree murder where interim release is granted,” Gabrielson wrote in his decision.
Do you agree with the court’s decision or do you think that it, too, is racially motivated?