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Investigation into death of Colten Boushie: CRCC Report into RCMP investigation

March 22, 2021

RCMP’s Civilian Review and Complaints Commission – released the CRCC’s report that made 47 findings and 17 recommendations to address the deficiencies identified in the RCMP’s investigation and interactions with Colten Boushie’s family after his death in 2016. Some issues were of significant concern, like the failure to protect the vehicle Mr. Boushie was sitting in when he was shot. This, in conjunction with an unreasonable delay in obtaining a search warrant for the property, led to the loss of evidence as a result of inclement weather. There were also deficiencies in the RCMP’s interactions with some of the witnesses.

The CRCC’s investigation found that the RCMP members who notified Mr. Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, of his death treated her with such insensitivity that her treatment amounted to discrimination. The RCMP members’ actions included questioning Ms. Baptiste about her sobriety, smelling her breath, and looking inside her microwave to verify her statement that she had put her now-deceased son’s dinner there. The CRCC made additional findings about the conduct of the RCMP members who attended Ms. Baptiste’s home on the evening of Mr. Boushie’s death in a separate report relating to a public complaint made by the family.

In its public interest investigation, the CRCC also found that the attendance of RCMP members at the funeral hall where Mr. Boushie’s wake was being held was unreasonable and contributed to a further deterioration of the RCMP’s relationship with the family. The CRCC noted that many of the deficiencies in the RCMP’s investigation, as well as some of the deficiencies in the next-of-kin notification of Mr. Boushie’s mother, were the result of internal communication failures involving instances where RCMP members did not adequately convey important information to other RCMP members.

Another primary observation was the lack of attendance of the Major Crimes Unit (MCU) at the crime scene. In the CRCC’s opinion, this was a contributing factor in many of the issues raised in its report. The more serious oversights or omissions could have been diminished or avoided had there been an on-site MCU presence.

The RCMP Commissioner accepted without debate almost all of the CRCC’s findings, including the finding relating to the discriminatory treatment of Ms. Baptiste. The only exceptions related to more technical and less central findings. The RCMP Commissioner agreed to implement all of the CRCC’s recommendations. In response to the recommendation for increased mandatory cultural awareness training, the RCMP Commissioner provided a long list of programs that the RCMP has implemented, and is still implementing.