REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is condemning what he calls “racist and hate-filled” comments on social media and other online forums that stem from last week’s fatal shooting of an aboriginal man on a farm.
Wall says in a Facebook post on Sunday afternoon that the comments betray the values and character of Saskatchewan.
Colten Boushie, 22, was shot last Tuesday after a car he was in went onto the rural property near Biggar.
A cousin of Boushie’s says they were headed home to the Red Pheasant First Nation near North Battleford when they got a flat tire and needed help, but says a man on the farm smashed their window and fired shots as they tried to drive away.
Wall says that he has every confidence in the RCMP to investigate the circumstances of Boushie’s death.
“None of us should be jumping to any conclusions about what happened. We should trust the RCMP to do their work,” Wall says in the post.
“I call on Saskatchewan people to rise above intolerance, to be our best and to be the kind of neighbours and fellow citizens we are reputed to be.”
Comments continued over the weekend on numerous online sites. Some were anti First Nation, while others supported vigilante justice against the suspect in the case.
First Nations leaders said last week that a police news release about the shooting was biased, and they called for an RCMP review of communication policies and writing guidelines.
An initial news release said people in the car had been taken into custody as part of a theft investigation.
Superintendent Rob Cameron in Regina responded that officers handled the investigation fairly and competently.
Wall said the hateful comments that have appeared online must stop.
“There are laws that protect citizens from what this kind of hate may foment. They will be enforced,” he said.
The suspect, Gerald Stanley, 54, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the case.
Stanley is to make his next court appearance in North Battleford on Aug. 18 to face the allegations.