Civil suits filed by Boushie family members against Stanley, RCMP

Civil actions have been launched in connection to the shooting death of Colten Boushie in August 2016.

Two statementsof claim have been filed in Queen’s Bench Court in the Saskatoon judicial district — one against Gerald Stanley, and the other against several defendants including the Attorney General of Canada and seven individual members of the RCMP.

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The lawsuit against the RCMP was filed on behalf of plaintiffs Debbie Baptiste, Jace Troy Boushie and Boyblue Boushie, the mother and two brothers of Colten Boushie. In the RCMP action, Debbie is seeking $550,000 in overall damages, Jace Boushie $450,000 and Boyblue Boushie $450,000.

These amounts would include general damages, damages for pecuniary and other losses, special damages and punitive damages of $200,000 each. In addition, the plaintiffs are also seeking interest, costs and disbursements, and such further relief that the court might determine.

The lawsuit focuses on the search conducted at the Boushie home on the night of Aug. 9. The plaintiffs allege Charter of Rights and Freedoms infringement. The lawsuit alleges that “without attempting to obtain the consent of Debbie, Jace or Boyblue, the search officers conducted a planned, deliberate and warrantless search of the home.”

“The search officers’ warrantless search of the home was unreasonable and violated the plaintiffs’ constitutionally enshrined right to be secure against unreasonable search under section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

The statement of claim also states the warrantless search violated section 15, and that the “search officers’ conduct discriminated against the plaintiffs on the basis of their race.”

The statement of claim also accused the RCMP of misfeasance of public office, stating the search officers unlawfully searched the home, failed to maintain the integrity of the law, law enforcement and the administration of justice, failed to perform their duties promptly, impartially and diligently, failed to act in a courteous, respectful and honourable manner and failed to treat every person with respect and courtesy, among others.       

Damages alleged by the claimants include depression, physical and emotional distress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, nervous shock, mental anguish, interference with normal sleeping patterns, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income and suicidal ideation.  

The other lawsuit is against Gerald Stanley, who was charged but later acquitted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie that took place Aug. 9, 2016.

That lawsuit is being brought by Debbie Baptiste, administrator of the estate of Colten Boushie, and is seeking damages for wrongful death. 

The statement of claim against Stanley alleges the death of Boushie was “a direct result of the negligent, reckless or intentional acts of the defendant, Gerald Stanley.”

Among the particulars cited in the claim are failure to properly assess the initial risk, failure to monitor any ongoing risk, failure to contact any authorities, administering excessive force when it was uncalled for, fatally shooting Colten Boushie at point-blank range when he represented no risk, illegal storage of firearms on his property, failure to render any emergency medical assistance, failure to contact any authorities on a timely basis after the shooting, failure to properly maintain and store firearms and negligently brandishing of firearms.

The plaintiff is claiming under the Fatal Accidents Act the amounts of $30,000 to the mother Debbie Baptiste, $20,000 in funeral expenses, $60,000 in grief counselling and $60,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

In addition, the plaintiff Debbie Baptiste is also claiming lost employment earnings of $100,000 and is seeking an unspecified amount of special damages to be proven at trial as well as aggravated/punitive damages in the amount of $200,000. Costs and interest are being sought as well.

Eleanore Sunchild of Sunchild Law, Battleford, is representing the Boushie estate in the claim against Stanley.

“This lawsuit will prove that the death of Colten Boushie was wrongful and that the Boushie family suffered a profound and devastating loss the night Colten was fatally shot,” said Sunchild in a statement.

“This lawsuit will hold the person responsible for Colten’s wrongful death accountable. Nothing can return Colten to his family, yet the Boushie family will continue its relentless pursuit of justice for Colten.”

Both Sunchild and Chris Murphy, of Murphys law firm, Toronto, are representing Boushie’s family in the claim against the RCMP.

“We expect that this lawsuit will force the RCMP to look deep within itself and examine the manner in which the RCMP interacts with the Indigenous citizens of Canada,” said Murphy in a statement.“There can be no true reconciliation until the RCMP, itself, acknowledges that the callous manner in which Debbie, Jace and William was due – at least in part – to the fact that they were proud members of the Red Pheasant First Nation.”

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