From left, Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, Southern Chiefs’ Organization, Chief Arlen Dumas, Chief Sheila North, and Chief Kevin Hart speak to media outside the law courts in Winnipeg after the jury delivered a not-guilty verdict in the second degree murder trial of Raymond Cormier, Thursday, February 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Penticton rally set for Indigenous homicide victims

Rally in support of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine set for Monday at noon at the courthouse

With second murder trial over the death of a young Indigenous person in the prairies leading to an acquittal, a previously postponed rally has been set for Monday at Penticton’s courthouse.

The rally was originally planned for two weeks prior, but a death in the Penticton Indian Band community postponed the protest. It was intended to show support for the family and friends of Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man killed by Gerald Stanley, a white farmer who was acquitted by an all-white jury in Saskatchewan earlier this month.

Related: Penticton rally planned in solidarity with family of Colten Boushie

For many Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across Canada, the acquittal rang familiar as a systemic failure in the legal system for Indigenous Peoples, while critics claimed the issue had nothing to do with race.

“My uncle was beat to death in Vernon and the sentence for that was three months when I was a child, and this really triggered me,” said rally organizer Laurie Wilson, a PIB member and legal advocate with the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

“There are so many of us who have had this experience with little or no resolution. My family talked about our tragic loss for many years, but there was no explanation for the act of murder, therefore my ultimate conclusion, as a child, was you could be killed because you are an Indian.”

Though Stanley’s defence made no assertions about protecting his property — in fact, his defence claimed Boushie was the victim of a rare gun malfunction called a hangfire, a delay in the time between pulling the trigger and the bullet discharging — much of the controversy surrounded exactly that.

But the rally has seen renewed urgency among advocates, with another acquittal of a person accused of the murder of a young Indigenous person, this time in the case of Tina Fontaine, who was found wrapped up in a duvet, weighed down by rocks in a river in Manitoba.

Related: Indigenous leaders call for change after ‘system fails’ Tina Fontaine

Related: Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Police charged Raymond Cormier of second-degree murder about a year after her body was discovered, after she had gone missing from a hotel in the care of youth services.

In that case, police had no DNA evidence or eyewitnesses tying Cormier to Fontaine’s death, aside from one witness who claimed to see Cormier with a duvet at around that time.

The case against Cormier was largely surrounding recordings from inside an apartment he was provided by undercover police, in which the Crown claimed amounted to an admission of guilt.

Related: Man accused in death of Winnepeg teen Tina Fontaine found not guilty

In the recordings, Cormier told a woman he would bet Fontaine was killed because he had sex with her and found out she was only 15 years old. In another recording, that a little girl was in a “grave someplace screaming at the top of her lungs for me to finish the job. And guess what? I finished the job.”

The defence countered that the Crown could not prove how Fontaine died, nor could they directly tie Cormier to Fontaine’s death.

“Rally against recent injustices of Colten Boushie, Tina Fontaine and our brothers and sisters who continue to suffer injustice and indignity,” a Facebook page set up for the Penticton rally said. “Standing with the families and communities who are hurting from continued brutality and injustice.”

The rally is set for noon on Monday at Penticton’s courthouse.

Related: Column: Disappointed by comments about local rally


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Vees add another notch to the win column

The team beat the Surrey Eagles 4-1 in the Bauer BCHL Showcase on Sept. 20

50-site RV park proposed for Okanagan Falls

An applicant has requested the property area be rezoned to Commerical Tourist instead of Industrial

City council passes tax exemptions without discussion

Permissive tax exemptions approved for 2019

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

Most Read