Mountie being investigated for racist comments 'not the only one' - APTN NewsAPTN News

Mountie being investigated for racist comments ‘not the only one’


Kathleen Martens
A shocking online comment about Colten Boushie by an RCMP officer has the force investigating one of its own and others saying scrap the service altogether.

“Disband the RCMP,” tweeted retired Vancouver police officer Lorimer Shenher with a link to Wednesday’s APTN story.

“She is not the only one with that attitude,” Shenher added in a telephone interview Friday.

“In Saskatchewan and Alberta – let’s face it – and in B.C. too, these kind of sentiments are pretty common among law enforcement.”

APTN reported a female Mountie in Alberta posted Boushie “got what he deserved” on a private Facebook page called ‘News Stories that Matter to or May Impact RCMP’.

Related: RCMP Facebook group claims Colten Boushie ‘got what he deserved’

The shooting death of Boushie, from Saskatchewan’s Red Pheasant First Nation, and subsequent acquittal of farmer Gerald Stanley revealed a racial divide across Canada.

“I’m not on Facebook myself but I would imagine these kinds of things have been going definitely since Colten was shot,” said Shenher, who worked with Indigenous people and members of the RCMP as lead investigator on the missing women investigation that eventually led to serial killer Robert Pickton.

Shenher, who has since written a book about that case and blogs about reforming police culture, says the comment was “horrifying.”

“This obviously affects the public’s trust in the RCMP and it affects Indigenous peoples’, I would venture to say, hope for any reconciliation.”

The force has told APTN it is investigating the private page with 1,200 members that admitted an APTN reporter as a member who screen-grabbed
the shocking post and others. But it won’t comment further.

Shenher thinks that’s a mistake. He says now would be a good time to do things differently – more transparently, for example – to rebuild relationships.

“And, to show the RCMP are even sensitive to these issues.”

Vice-chief Kimberly Jonathan says the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan has been assured the RCMP are taking this latest scandal seriously.

“Despite the challenges, I can assure you that we’ve been in close contact with the RCMP,” she said Friday in Saskatoon, “and we’re working towards resolve and accountability for people who write and incite hate.”

Although she didn’t know what the end result would be.

“What that looks like, I guess, is dependent on the community. There’s so much that needs to be said.”

The Boushie family and its supporters have been bombarded with hate speech since the not-guilty verdict came down Feb. 9.

Rallies in their name are being held across Canada and politicians are promising to reform the justice system. Again.

But only they can say how this latest attack feels on top of all the other discrimination they say they have had to deal with. Although they weren’t available for comment Friday.

“We’re very aware of the effects,” Jonathan added. “We’re very aware of how huge and troubled this could be.”

APTN has made numerous attempts to contact the officer who made the controversial post on Facebook. But she was not the only person to make questionable comments on the page.

An APTN reporter took screen captures of numerous conversations about the trial, defence and verdict. Officers appear to use their real names, describe their detachment areas, name the provinces they work in, and complain about issues of under-staffing and Indigenous communities.

“If there was a failing in this trial, it was with the law as it currently stands, not the jury or verdict,” said a male in a post on Feb. 14.

“It’s not about race,” a female posted a few hours later. “I don’t care if someone is green or has a tail, if you trespass with intent to harm, steal or cause damage, how can you expect bad things not to happen?”

There are links to media stories on the trial. And debate about the issue of the lack of visibly Indigenous members of the jury.

“So the family and friends are now going to drive the karma bus and become vigilantes for justice? That’s the sentiment I’m getting from this…as if the people from that area haven’t been terrorized by these upstanding model citizens off the Rez?” added the female APTN has confirmed works at a rural Alberta detachment.

Shenher says the officer may find sympathetic ears among her peers but to him it sounds like she should leave the field.

Although he knows that’s likely to backfire.

“I know that firing them probably isn’t going to decrease the world’s population of racists by one or two because then they’re just going to be bitter, fired racists,’ he said.

“But they’re still going to be racists and they’re just going to be bitter because they’re going to say, ‘Oh, somebody played the race card …and now I don’t have a job.’”

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8 Responses to “Mountie being investigated for racist comments ‘not the only one’”

    Victoria Levasseur February 20, 2018 at 5:59 pm #

    WHAT YOU ALLOW WILL CONTINUE as the saying goes. The only way this ignorance and bigotry is going to cease if they are held accountable for their actions. This misconduct and they know, sugar coating the problem isn’t going to make it go away. These are public figures that are considered to be community role models . They took an oath to serve and protect and to remain impartial and respectful. If we can’t trust our own law enforcement to do the right thing, then who are we to trust ?

    JUDITH HARROWER February 19, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

    There is no quick fix for racism as it is learned primarily within the family, in grade school escalating in high school and then in work places. Racists have low self esteem, poor self image, feeling of not being accepted resulting in bullying belittling and pumped up by like minded friends. Racism grows quickly but takes generations to dissolve.

    Graham February 19, 2018 at 11:10 am #

    A Female RCMP, who would have thought.
    Does she know that in Canada has disallowed RCMP from getting involved with Native Peoples because of their well established record of Acts of Genocide well documented at Six Nations Indian Reserve #40 where’d they were stationed in a Barracks built by Six Nations and maintained by same. We voted off our Territorial Lands by Elected Band Council And Six Nations Traditional Hereditary Chiefs, The Haudenosaunee Peoples And Our Clan Mothers that are traditionally Tasked to choose and Monitor Chiefs And has the Power to Dehorn said Chiefs at anytime for any reason And is shamed out of office.
    And as far as a female RCMP does not sway the decision that she has to appear before All Hereditary Chiefs, victims Familiy Members to hear her explainatiin in her own words as to her motives to murder, killing an Unarmed Native man for just traveling across his own traditional territories doing his own research of his territories. According to our International Treaty Agreements Natives are not to be Harrassed or Molested as he travels over his Tribal Lands Open to travel day and night to anywhere. The TwoRow Wampum Treaty of 1612 has been violated in so many ways thus is too long to list here along with the charge of Murder with Intent to kill on her own and departmental reasons. If the dead native man was finically responsible to raising his children and supporting his with of many years in a Mansion with Four Garage and swimming pool plus an allowance for utilities and food then she and her department will then be expected to pick up the responsibility plus provide the security necessary to keep the family safe from Acts Of Genocide And threats for her office and from government offices forever.

    Bernie francis February 19, 2018 at 2:36 am #

    I do believe that an aboriginal person is entitled to a fair investigation and trial. Am I wrong about this? If I am, then is there an open season on us? I certainly would be relieved to be advised either way so as to allow me an opportunity to prepare myself.

    Dr. Bernie Francis
    Membertou First Nation
    Nova Scotia.

    Questionable February 18, 2018 at 5:43 pm #

    Does anyone else find it a major conflict of interest that the RCMP investigate themselves? Other police services across Canada use outside agencies to investigate police complaints within their own agencies?

    Pat February 18, 2018 at 5:21 am #

    Good night. Racism has long been perpetuated by canadian estsablishments and institutions.

    Working closely will not help. Dismantling this institution is tge only answer.

    Doug Bearhat February 18, 2018 at 4:56 am #

    As I have said before on this issue & other injustices against Natives, I say again:
    When Trump became President, most Whites across North America became emboldened & showed their true colors. They’ve been acting with impunity against Natives, Muslims, Blacks etc!
    All I’m hopeful is you people get your just rewards in the great beyond!!!

    T. Paul February 18, 2018 at 4:19 am #

    Very unproffessional behaviour. Indigenous communities have strived to establish and maintain positive relationships with the RCMP through liaison programs in the past few years, some were rather successful. We can not allow this particular behavior to stain positive success stories. This officer should not be fired but still held accountable, perhaps reprimanded. An apology to the Boushie family would be the appropriate approach to maximize damage control and uphold the integrity of any reconcilatory initiatives already in motion across the country. The 19 recommendations stemming from the TRC report must be brought back to light and re-establish any momentum/s that have experienced negative impacts. We must all continue with strengthening and supporting relationship building between nations. A better Canada can still happen if all levels of governments, communities, agencies, industry etc. etc. commit to positive relationship building initiatives.