Gerald Stanley has been found not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie in August 2016.
The jury delivered its verdict late Friday. The jury also had the option of finding Stanley guilty of manslaughter but did not.
“My nephew has been denied justice,” said Boushie’s uncle Alvin Baptiste moments after the verdict. “This is how they treat us First Nations people. It is not right. Something has to be done about it.”
Court heard that Boushie was shot in the head with a handgun while he was sitting in the driver’s seat of an SUV that had been driven onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask.
The jury spent Friday morning listening to testimony from Stanley and his son.
Boushie’s cousin Jade Tootoosis said the family will push for an appeal.
“There was no justice served here today. We hoped for justice from Colten. However, we did not see it,” she said outside court.
“We will fight for an appeal and answers to all the racism that my family has experienced from the day that Colten was shot, until the jury delivered the verdict of not guilty. We will not stop our pursuit for justice.”
The trial heard that the SUV that Boushie and four others were in that day had a flat tire. The driver testified the group had been drinking and tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but went to the Stanley property in search of help with the tire.
Defence lawyer Scott Spencer argued Boushie died as a result of a freak accident when the gun misfired and Stanley never intended to hurt anyone. Crown prosecutor Bill Burge disputed that Stanley believed the firearm was empty and that the gun could have had a misfire, or hang fire.
The case has exposed an ugly side in rural Saskatchewan – landowners who blame Indigenous people for high rates of property crime and First Nations who bear the brunt of that racism and hate.
As the trial coming to an end the RCMP issued a statement reminding all people and parties to “conduct themselves in a peaceful and civil manner regardless of the outcome.”
RCMP also warned people will be held responsible for what they say or post online and police will investigate any complaints of suspected criminal behaviour.
-with files from The Canadian Press