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Colten Boushie’s family files lawsuits against Gerald Stanley, RCMP

Global News logo Global News 2018-08-10 David Giles
Friends, family and members of the public will gather at Red Pheasant First Nation’s community hall on the one-year anniversary since Colten Boushie died.: The family of Colten Boushie is seeking nearly $2 million in damages in two lawsuits filed on the eve of the second anniversary of his shooting death. © File Photo The family of Colten Boushie is seeking nearly $2 million in damages in two lawsuits filed on the eve of the second anniversary of his shooting death.

On the eve of the second anniversary of the shooting death of Colten Boushie, his family filed two lawsuits seeking nearly $2 million in damages.

Boushie, 22, was shot in the head on Aug. 9, 2016 while sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV that was driven onto Gerald Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask.

Stanley was charged with second-degree murder and found not guilty by a jury at his trial in February.

READ MORE: Gerald Stanley found not guilty of murder of Colten Boushie

The first claim, made on behalf of Boushie’s estate, claims Stanley caused Boushie’s death through negligence, recklessness, or by an intentional act.

“This lawsuit will prove that the death of Colten Boushie was wrongful and that the Boushie family suffered a profound and devastating loss the night Colten was fatally shot,” said Eleanore Sunchild, who is representing the estate.

“This lawsuit will hold the person responsible for Colten’s wrongful death accountable. Nothing can return Colten to his family, yet the Boushie family will continue its relentless pursuit of justice for Colten.”

None of the allegations in either of the lawsuits have been proven in court.

The estate is seeking over $400,000 in damages, including at least $100,000 in lost employment earnings for Debbie Baptiste, Colten’s mother, and $200,000 “aggravated, exemplary and punitive damages.”

READ MORE: Gerald Stanley pleads guilty to gun charge

Stanley has since pleaded guilty to unsafe storage of a firearm and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine and $900 surcharge.

The second lawsuit is against the RCMP for the treatment Boushie’s mother and two brothers said they suffered the night he died.

The lawsuit alleges RCMP officers illegally entered the family home on the Red Pheasant First Nation and conducted a search contrary to the RCMP Act and the charter.

“We expect that this lawsuit will force the RCMP to look deep within itself and examine the manner in which the RCMP interacts with the Indigenous people of Canada,” Sunchild and Chris Murphy said in a joint statement.

“There can be no true reconciliation until the RCMP, itself, acknowledges that the callous manner in which Debbie, Jace and William was due – at least in part – to the fact that they were proud members of the Red Pheasant First Nation.

READ MORE: Colten Boushie’s family ‘extremely upset’ RCMP clear themselves of wrongdoing

The family is seeking over $1.5 million in damages.

An internal RCMP investigation, done by a senior Indigenous officer, absolved the police force of any wrongdoing.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP is reviewing the RCMP’s dismissal of the Boushie’s family initial complaint.

READ MORE: Crown won’t appeal acquittal in rural shooting of Colten Boushie

Boushie was one of five young people who drove onto Stanley‘s farm near Biggar in 2016. His friends testified they were looking for help with a flat tire.

Stanley told the trial he thought they were trying to steal an all-terrain vehicle. He testified he fired warning shots to scare them away and the gun accidentally went off again when he went to pull the keys from their SUV.

The Crown said there was no legal basis to appeal Stanley’s acquittal.

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