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Canada  

Outrage over acquittal

The federal justice minister has said the country "can and must do better" after a white farmer was acquitted in the shooting death of a young Indigenous man — a verdict that sparked a firestorm of criticism from First Nations groups across Canada.

A jury in Battleford, Sask., deliberated 13 hours before finding Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder Friday in the 2016 death of Colten Boushie, a resident of the Red Pheasant First Nation.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould tweeted her sympathy for Boushie's family, adding that she is "committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians."

Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Clint Wuttunee called the ruling "absolutely perverse."

"Colten Boushie was shot in the back of the head at point blank range. Nevertheless an all white jury formed the twisted view of that obvious truth and found Stanley not guilty," he said

Wuttunee added that the verdict has "crushed the spirit" of the people of Red Pheasant First Nation.

Boushie's family had previously expressed concern that the deck was stacked against them during the court process.

Alvin Baptiste, Boushie's uncle, said there needs to be a change.

"Something has to be done about this. The government, Justin Trudeau, we ask you to give us Indigenous people justice," Baptiste said.

There was an almost immediate response from Ottawa.

"I can't imagine the grief and sorrow the Boushie family is feeling tonight," the prime minister tweeted from Los Angeles. "Sending love to them from the U.S."

Meanwhile, newly appointed Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe posted on Facebook urging people to be "measured" in their response to the verdict.

"Let us all remember our personal responsibility for our thoughts, our actions, and our comments — including those on social media," he wrote.

The Indigenous Joint Action Coalition called for a day of action Saturday to show "solidarity and support" for the Boushie and Baptiste family.

Rallies were scheduled for Saskatoon, Regina, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria.

Almost 500 signed up for the Vancouver event on Facebook, set to be held at 700 Hamilton Street at 12:30 p.m.



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