UPDATE: The RCMP has responded to the FSIN's claims.
RCMP Superintendent Rob Cameron said at a news conference Friday, Aug. 12 they take criticism from the FSIN seriously.
"It's deeply concerning to us as the provincial police service to hear one of our media releases categorized as bias(ed) and not in line with the reltionship we have with the FSIN and all of the communities we serve," he said.
Cameron said they want to work with the FSIN to address their concerns.
He also encouraged people to watch what they post on social media regarding the homicide investigation.
"There have been comments made on social media that are both concerning and could be criminal in nature," he said.
The specific comments weren't elaborated on. Cameron instead referred to the criminal code which criminalizes advocating for violence against an identifiable group.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is demanding a review of RCMP communications policies, in the wake of the shooting death of a Red Pheasant First Nation man.
The initial news release sent on behalf of the RCMP Major Crime Unit North listed a number of details from the initial police investigation, describing a confrontation between property owners in the R.M. of Glenside and five people who entered the property in a vehicle.
“The occupants of the vehicle were not known to the property owners. A verbal exchange occurred in an attempt to get the vehicle to leave the yard and ultimately a firearm was discharged, striking an occupant in the vehicle,” the release read. It also stated three people from the vehicle were taken into custody as part of a “related theft investigation” while one other was being sought.
“The news release the RCMP issued the following day provided just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified,” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said in a statement, suggesting the information police provided could fuel racial tensions.
Cameron’s statement also offered condolences to the family of Colten Boushie. Red Pheasant Chief Clint Wuttunee said the initial reports of the incident made it sound like the vehicle’s occupants were about to commit a crime.
“Colten Boushie deserves justice and anything less is unacceptable,” FSIN Vice-Chief Kimberley Jonathan said, adding police need to treat the case as a racially-based crime.
RCMP planned to respond Friday evening with a news conference in Regina.
Gerald Stanley, 54, of the Biggar area appeared in North Battleford Provincial Court Thursday, Aug. 11 on a charge of second degree murder, and was remanded until Aug. 18.
With files from CKOM News.
Geoff Smith is battlefordsNOW's News Director, business and agriculture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected] or tweet him @smithco.
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