The RCMP says it will undertake a code-of-conduct investigation into a private Facebook group posting by a person believed to be an officer who reportedly said Colten Boushie deserved to die.
A report on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network says an RCMP officer on the Prairies posted the message, which says the shooting of the 22-year-old Indigenous man on a Saskatchewan farm should never have been about race.
Boushie died when he and four other people drove onto Gerald Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016.
Stanley was charged with second-degree murder and faced trial in Battleford, but was found not guilty by a jury last Friday.
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A statement from RCMP National Headquarters in Ottawa says the social media posting is antithetical to the force’s standards and the Facebook group mentioned in the report is not managed by the RCMP.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the remark is unacceptable and there will be consequences, depending on the outcome of the investigation.
“This should never have been allowed to be about race … crimes were committed and a jury found the man not guilty in protecting his home and family,” the post said. “Too bad the kid died but he got what he deserved.”
APTN did not disclose the person’s identity, but said two sources shared screenshots of the posting and revealed who the officer is.
The message has since been deleted from the site called “News Stories that Matter to or May Impact RCMP,” which has 1,200 members who must answer questions posed by an administrator about their policing careers before being admitted.
The RCMP’s statement in response to the story said on- and off-duty members must behave in accordance with the force’s code of conduct and that a member’s use of the internet for social networking is subject to the same standards.
It said members must avoid compromising the integrity of the RCMP or portraying themselves or the organization in a disgraceful or discreditable manner. When concerns about disrespectful content believed to be written by an RCMP employee are raised, “they are and will be investigated and addressed.”
“Public trust is essential for the RCMP to effectively fulfill its mandate. As a result, RCMP employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that meets the rightfully high expectations of Canadians,” said the release.
Near the end of the Stanley trial last week, Saskatchewan RCMP sent out a statement reminding people to work together “in a spirit of inclusiveness and understanding.”
“The RCMP is once again reminding people that they can and will be held responsible for their communications, both in-person and on-line, and police will investigate any complaints of suspected criminal behaviour,” it said.
Goodale said he has talked to the RCMP about what he calls an “absolutely appalling” remark.
“The facts are being determined and examined,” Goodale said. ”If they turn out to be what they appear to be, this is unacceptable and there will be consequences.”
— with files from APTN and CKRM
The Canadian Press