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Around 100 community members gather at St. Catharines City Hall for candlelit vigil

Around 100 members of the community came together outside St. Catharines City Hall on Wednesday to remember Colten Boushie, the 22-year-old Indigenous man killed in 2016.

Five days earlier, Gerald Stanley, the Saskatchewan farmer who shot him was found not guilty of second-degree murder.

Organized by the Indigenous community of Niagara, the vigil was one of many organized across Canada in the wake of the jury’s verdict.

“We’re here today because of a lost life and a wrong verdict,” said Patty Krawec, a member of the Anishnaabe Community and an event organizer. The candlelight vigil featured speakers from the Indigenous community as well as drumming and singing.

Boushie, a 22 year-old Cree man from Red Pheasant First Nation died on Aug. 9, 2016 from a single gunshot wound to the back of his head. The defence in the Stanley trial claimed his gun accidentally went off.

Krawec said this verdict serves as a reminder that in Canada the scales of justice have always tipped away from the needs of the people original to these lands.

“This vigil is an opportunity to come together to share grief, anger, and continue to work together to address personal and structural racism in this community,” she said.

The harm to Boushie family is real, she noted. The harm the failure of justice brings to Indigenous communities and individuals is real too.

“We know another son and brother has been lost to a weapon, has been lost to a bullet,” said Allan Jamieson, president of the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre. “It’s murder. It’s unjustified. We’ve lost another to a gun and they’ve come to the realization that the only way they can maintain power is by a gun.”

Jamieson noted the jury didn’t take long to deliberate after the two-week trial, returning with a verdict in just 15 hours.

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