EDITORIALS

CBC Investigation into Boushie Case Much Ado About Nothing

RCMP Patrol Unit (Photo JGJ)

I can think of few criminal cases that exposed Canada’s racial divide more than the Colten Boushie case has.

That divide widened when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould chimed in expressing disappointment that “we” have to do better.

The story isn’t going away anytime soon.

On Tuesday, the Civilian Review & Complaints Commission for the RCMP announced they have initiated an investigation of the RCMP’s original investigation to determine if it was conducted reasonably and whether race played a role.

That afternoon CBC published an online report with the headline, “RCMP ‘sloppy’ and ‘negligent’ in investigating Colten Boushie’s death, say independent experts.”

The report quotes several “independent” experts who concluded the RCMP investigation was seriously flawed and the organization “needs a lot more training.”

The criticism centered on several specific areas;

  • Failure to protect the crime scene
  • Blood spatter evidence
  • Gun shot residue
  • Stanley’s arrest and processing

One of the experts identified in the report is Michael Davis, who the report described as a, “Toronto based veteran of homicide investigations.”

Prior to becoming a private investigator, Davis completed 32 years service with the Toronto Police Department, more than half that time was spent assigned to the Homicide Squad.

As such, Davis has the ability to identify meaningful, critical deficiencies in police investigations.

Photo of interior of SUV before rainfall (RCMP)

Failure to Protect the Crime Scene

The article indicates that when RCMP attended Stanley’s farm on August 9, 2016, Boushie was found face down on the ground in a pool of blood. The report indicates he was laying outside of the driver’s door of a Ford SUV.

It seems crime scene photographs were not taken until after darkness fell.

The photographs showed significant blood staining on the driver’s seat where Boushie was alleged to have sat when he was shot and killed.

When the RCMP left the scene for the night, they failed to protect the vehicle or surrounding area.

Police did not return to the crime scene until August 11.

(I suspect the delay was due to the need to secure a criminal code search warrant authorizing the collection of evidence and processing of the crime scene.) 

Photo of interior of SUV after rainfall (RCMP)

By the time they returned, over 40 millimetres of rain had fallen and soaked the vehicle. Significant blood evidence had washed away along with any potential gunshot residue.

“Your main concern is preserving the evidence, preserving the scene,” Davis told CBC indicating the failure to do so was unacceptable.

The photographs taken by the RCMP were deemed inadequate largely due to the poor lighting conditions, poor angles and the failure to use proper forensic techniques when capturing the images.

The failure to protect the SUV was a serious oversight in the investigation. The vehicle should have been properly protected or secured at the scene, or better yet, removed to a garage or laboratory for forensic examinations.

Ultimately, an assessment has to be made regarding the impact the potential lost evidence had on the case.

There’s more to talk about before we get there.

Blood Spatter Evidence

Blood spatter evidence is interpreted by experts who form opinions designed to aid the investigation by providing  or refuting investigative theories.

Blood spatter can be interpreted to determine the type of weapon used, the degree of force used during a crime, movements of a victim or injured party or angles of a shooting or attack. It can also provide insight into the proximity of a victim and assailant.

Blood spatter evidence as is often called “junk science” and is a highly contentious aspect of forensic science.

In a 2009 report, the National Academies of Sciences indicated, “Uncertainties associated with bloodstain pattern analysis are enormous.”

“Uncertainties associated with bloodstain pattern analysis are enormous.”

The CBC enlisted the services of Joe Slemko who they indicate has spent over twenty-five (25) years doing blood spatter analysis. Slemko described the RCMP’s failure to protect the scene as “negligent.”

“The evidence is gone, the damage is done,” Slemko said.

The CBC might have considered Mr. Slemko’s history with the RCMP before using him to conduct “independent” analysis on the case. His relationship with the RCMP seems to be somewhat contentious.

Slemko was described as an “amateur” by RCMP lawyer David Butcher after he provided his opinion at an RCMP shooting inquest in 2007.

Butcher pointed out Slemko was charged twice for insubordination by the Edmonton Police Service during his twenty (20) year career.

Slemko was criticized for failing to note certain evidence in his investigative report.

Joe Slemko (bloodspatter.com)

“It was a stupid mistake, wasn’t it?” Butcher said challenging Slemko.

“Yes, it was a stupid mistake,” Slemko admitted after being reprimanded by the presiding coroner.

Reports indicate the RCMP wrote a letter of complaint about Slemko to the Edmonton Police Service.

The decision to use him as an expert in this case is questionable.

Gunshot Residue

Gunshot residue or GSR is another form of forensic evidence often called “junk science.”

GSR is residue deposited on the hands and clothing of someone who discharges a firearm, or is in proximity to a firearms discharge.

GSR is composed of burnt or unburnt particles from the primer, propellant or fragments from the projectile, cartridge or firearm.

GSR analysis can determine if someone discharged a firearm and may also help with establishing the distance from which a firearm may have been fired.

Gun shot residue or GSR is another form of forensic evidence often called “junk science.”

GSR analysis can be helpful in providing evidence to identify contact or close contact gunshot wounds.

The CBC report is critical of the RCMP for failing to test the SUV for GSR.

(Given we know Boushie was shot in the driver’s seat, I would suggest the results of the GSR test would not be all that enlightening.)

The report indicates Stanley’s clothing was another potential source of both blood spatter and GSR, both of which, the report suggests, could help determine his distance from Boushie when the shot was fired.

The report indicates, “But the RCMP never seized Stanley’s clothes.”

(Given we know Stanley fired the shot that killed Boushie GSR tests on his clothing would not be tremendously enlightening. Stanley’s distance from Boushie when the shot was fired was not a contentious issue.)

Stanley’s Arrest & Processing

The RCMP took Stanley into custody and conveyed him to the nearest Detachment where he was photographed and released.

Gerald Stanley post shooting (RCMP)

He returned the following day to be interviewed.

“You’re telling me that he was immediately released no sooner than getting to the Detachment? I’d say that’s not much of an investigation.” Davis said.

The CBC report points out the RCMP did not ensure an experienced homicide investigator conducted Stanley’s interrogation.

Boushie family lawyer, Chris Murphy suggests the RCMP’s failure to secure a seasoned homicide interrogator calls into question their dedication to the investigation.

“My honestly held belief is that the RCMP in Saskatchewan either does not know how to properly conduct a murder investigation — or that, in this case, they made the decision not to dedicate sufficient resources to it,” said Chris Murphy.

Let the conspiracy theories abound.

The Proper Protocol – Gerald Stanley

It seems errors in judgement were made during Mr. Stanley’s processing.

Police procedures should have dictated the seizure of his external clothing and footwear. He definitely should have been interrogated before leaving the RCMP Detachment.

It’s difficult to make an assessment regarding Stanley’s interrogation as we have no information regarding the interrogator’s qualifications or experience.

The mere fact he was a Constable, “the lowest rank among RCMP members,” certainly doesn’t preclude him from being qualified to conduct the interrogation.

Police Officers holding the rank of Constable in the Winnipeg Police Service Homicide Unit have conducted many successful homicide interrogations.

The Final Analysis

Were there errors and oversights made during the Colten Boushie shooting investigation?

Absolutely.

Did those errors impact the result in the Gerald Stanley murder trial?

“The experts CBC consulted agreed that errors were made, but did not conclude it would have changed the outcome of the trial.”

Not likely.

That point is conceded in the CBC story;

“The experts CBC consulted agreed that errors were made, but did not conclude it would have changed the outcome of the trial.”

Issues related to the blood spatter, GSR, the seizure of Stanley’s clothing, the interrogation and noted forensic examinations essentially became moot when Mr. Stanley’s defence team readily admitted Stanley shot and killed Colten Boushie.

Had he denied shooting Boushie, that evidence may have been critical.

It’s clear, none of the results associated to these examinations would have offered any substantial evidence to impact the trial.

The trail was about motive or lack thereof.

Stanley took the position the shooting was accidental while the prosecution argued it was an intentional act.

The jury believed the defence.

Case closed.

So what was the point of the CBC article?

Tom Anderson (Twitter)

Retired Winnipeg Police Service Homicide Sergeant Tom Anderson thinks he knows.

Just another example of race baiting by Canada’s Federally funded news agency says the retired Homicide Sergeant.

This issue of race is listed at number four (4) in the Civilian Review & Complaints Commission (CRCC) terms of reference;

“Whether the conduct of the RCMP members or other persons appointed or employed under Part I of the RCMP Act involved in this matter amounted to discrimination on the basis of race or perceived race.”

Those of us with institutional knowledge regarding these matters suspect issues related to lack of experience, supervisory control, staffing, resources, rural policing, outdoor crime scene and ready access to specialists will have more to do with the errors made during this investigation than anything else.

Of course, that is yet to be determined.

We’ll see how it all shakes out.


Breaking

March 7, 2018

Deputy Attorney General Anthony Gerein, head of Public Prosecutions announced there will be no Crown appeal of the not-guilty verdict in the Colten Boushie case.


Update:

March 12, 2018

The CBC admits to including fake news in their story criticizing the RCMP investigation into the Colten Boushie case.

The following information was obtained from a screen capture on their original story;

CBC News Correction (CBC News)

Court of Queen’s Bench – R v Stanley SKQB 367

The Court of Queen’s Bench decision in R v Stanley dated 2017-12-13 completely refutes a number of allegations contained in the CBC story.

Those allegations include;

  • The allegation Stanley was released after his arrest without being interrogated
  • The allegation Stanley’s clothing worn at the time of the shooting were not seized
  • The allegation the RCMP assigned a low ranking member to conduct the interrogation – suggesting the interrogator was not qualified and it did not receive the degree of importance it should have. (The inference being racism or investigative indifference factored into the decision making process, a common accusation directed at police agencies.)

The decision irrefutably renders the CBC allegations false.

Paragraph 24

  • “At 2:09 a.m. on August 10, 2016, RCMP officers awakened Mr. Stanley to take swabs of his hands and to seize his clothing. He was provided with replacement clothing. He then remained in his cell, alone, until 1:20 p.m. on August 10, 2016, when he was escorted into an interview room at which time he met Cst. Gullacher for the first time.

Paragraph 27

  • “The interview started at approximately 1:42 p.m. and concluded at approximately 5:58 p.m. – a little over four hours later.”

Paragraph 41

  • “Shortly after that, at approximately 5:58 p.m., the interview ended. It is apparent that Cst. Gullacher could see the writing on the wall and was prepared to accept that, despite his efforts, Mr. Stanley was not going to provide him with details of the incident under investigation.”

The presiding Justice referred to the interrogation as “skilled” and “persistent.”

Paragraph 45

  • The Justice indicated Constable Gullacher is a twelve (12) year member of the RCMP.

The fact he only held the rank of Constable certainly doesn’t negate the fact he was an experienced veteran of the RCMP.

Paragraph 52

Stanley’s defence alleged Constable Gullacher was persistent in his questioning and eroded Stanley’s will to remain silent. The officer used several themes during the interrogation that included;

  • suggesting he needed to provide a statement within 24 hours of his arrest
  • playing word games
  • providing inaccurate legal advice
  • refusal to provide further consultations with counsel
  • using a false narrative respecting a fabricated sexual assault case

The Justice went on to address each of these themes and ruled Constable Gullacher stayed within the boundaries of a proper and lawful interrogation.

Contrary to the CBC reporting, it’s clear a tremendous effort was made to properly interrogate Mr. Stanley.


The CBC News Story – Fake News

It’s important to note that any journalist writing a story regarding the Stanley case should have had access to the information published in the Court of Queen’s Bench decision.

It is unclear why the CBC would publish a story full of patently false information.

It’s important to note, the experts quoted in the story came to their conclusions based on the false information provided to them by the CBC.

The decision to alter the facts perplexes me.

CBC critics accuse the public broadcaster of race baiting and intentionally pushing a false narrative designed to divide the Canadian public along racial lines.

It seems the allegations may have substance.

I’m just not sure where it gets them.


R v Stanley – The Court of Queen’s Bench Decision


Related Link;

CBC News – Saskatoon

Crown won’t appeal not-guilty verdict in Gerald Stanley murder trial. 

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13 Comments

  1. you made many great points that i had already seen,i admit i have lost all faith in ca and american police forces i even lost faith in interpol in which whom i sometimes get intel on international missing children cases.This was and still is a cover up murder which is nothing new in canada i like you tho Joe and your courage for coming on here and confronting your smear campaign fellow officers i salute you joe go with God

  2. The part that doesn’t surprise me is “the news” posting false details in search of click bait. This is what the news does no matter what the subject is. Tragedies being a common one. The part that bothers me in this situation is the fact that my (our) hard earned tax dollars pay for CBC to be no better than any other news outfit. This story is yet another example of why CBC is a 1 billion dollar waste. I am all for good journalism (James, your site being a great example of that) but the business side of CBC News is overdue for a change.

  3. Thanks James. It hasn’t been an easy road for me, but I’m still proud to say that I am a Canadian police officer.

    Joe

  4. James G Jewell

    Mr. Slemko;

    I appreciate your clarifications and candid comments.

    I used the term “critical evidence” as it came from an article I found in my research.

    I appreciate the clarification and made an amendment to the story.

    You have certainly had an interesting career.

    Thank you again for adding context to the story.

    All the best in your continued service.

    James Jewell

  5. Hello James,

    Joe Slemko here:

    Interesting article and I respect your opinion.

    I would just like to clarify a couple of things regarding your statements about me:

    Yes, I unfortunately, I have had a contentious relationship with the RCMP largely due to the fact that I have been asked to consult for the defence on a number of their cases. As a result, I take exception to the fact that twice, they have made written complaints to my police agency (I’m still a serving police officer of 32 years service) to impede my testimony and not to deal with my evidence in court. Furthermore, every time I have testified for the defence on the basis of their photographs, their regular line of attack is to attempt to discredit me on the basis that my opinion was based on the analysis of photographs. Obviously in the Boushie case, it is acceptable for them to utilize that investigative process though. I have also been personally threatened by a member of the RCMP (reported in the BC media).

    I am proud to say that my convictions for insubordination (there are actually 3) were for me defying an order from my police agency not to “Consult or testify for the defence in any criminal proceeding.” I disobeyed that order on three occasions as I believe it was fundamentally unethical and illegal. My agency was forced to retract the order after if became public during my testimony in the Ian Bush case.

    The evidence that I did not include in my report in the Ian Bush case that you refer to were two small bloodstain on the jacket sleeve cuff of the involved police officer. Based on the circumstances of the occurrence, the bloodstains in that area were insignificant, but nevertheless it was an oversight on my part and I admitted the mistake. The bloodstains were far from “critical evidence” as you report.

    I find no satisfaction in testifying or providing an opinion that is contradictory to any police agency and they have been some of the most stressful moments in my life. However, I am proud of my reputation within the justice system to provide the truth regardless of the personal consequences for me.

    Best regards,

    Joe Slemko

  6. Amen!

  7. Tarping the vehicle, yes, but removing it would likely require a warrant, yes?

    You’re right that rank has absolutely nothing to do with experience or expertise. But I would imagine the reason Stanley wasn’t immediately interogated is two-fold; one, they want to get an experienced interrogator to do it, and two, they wanted that interrogator to have as much evidence and preparation as possible before doing it. This takes time, especially in rural Canada.

  8. Three things come to mind — This makes me ask how national would this story be today had PM Justin Trudeau and Ministers Jody Wilson-Rayould and Jane Philpott would of responded to the out come of this trial with “NO COMMENT” until they had an opportunity to listen to the facts presented within the court room? This way at least their comments would have been based on the same facts as the jury decision. Second, how would the events played out on the Stanley farm had the family been ask for there assistance rather than events that did take place? Third I have to wonder how there was no impaired driving or firearm related charges placed upon those entering the Stanley farm? Sorry one should not ask that third question in light of the fact that news of late in regards to this case, is all about unfair justice towards FN peoples. I personally think the picture is much bigger than many choose to see it but even in the bigger picture my eyes just do not see the racism card. Now get on with arresting and charging taking to court to try the remaining Boushie bunch, which were Wuttunee, Jackson, Meechance, and Cross for assaulting Mrs. Stanley, for trespassing (not just the Stanley farm but others as well), terrorizing/harassment, attempting to steal, etc. and make them an example to help stop rural crime and invasions!!

  9. Three things come to mind — This makes me ask how national would this story be today had PM Justin Trudeau and Ministers Jody Wilson-Rayould and Jane Philpott would of responded to the out come of this trial with “NO COMMENT” until they had an opportunity to listen to the facts presented within the court room? This way at least their comments would have been based on the same facts as the jury decision. Second, how would the events played out on the Stanley farm had the family been ask for there assistance rather than events that did take place? Third I have to wonder how there was no impaired driving or firearm related charges placed upon those entering the Stanley farm? Sorry one should not ask that third question in light of the fact that news of late in regards to this case, is all about unfair justice towards FN peoples. I personally think the picture is much bigger than many choose to see it but even in the bigger picture my eyes just do not see the racism card. Now get on with arresting and charging taking to court to try the remaining Boushie bunch, which were Wuttunee, Jackson, Meechance, and Cross for assaulting Mrs. Stanley, for trespassing (not just the Stanley farm but others as well), terrorizing/harassment, attempting to steal, etc. and make them an example to help stop rural crime and invasions!!Where’s is the justice for remote farmers? I am concerned every day for my brother who has farms surrounded by 4 reserves who DO maraud , steal gas, vehicles, etc!!!

  10. Amen!!

  11. Am fed up with freedom of speech being taken away from us, people having to be fired or resign from position because of it and false accusations and our human rights being trampled on, residential school survivors being in denial of the truth of the good that happened, the self identifying Indigenous who are more White than what they are claiming and not being open minded and being so hateful and are causing more tension, intolerance, disrespect, and anger against them while being such liars and hypocrites with their “Indigenous privilege and self serving attitude”!!

  12. Makes me wonder if any of the others invading his farm were charged with home invasion?

  13. Teach your children not to drink like idiots, teach them to respect other people and their property, teach your children not to drive drunk, teach your children not to drive drunk with a loaded weapon in your lap, teach your children not to trespass or assault the land owner when you do, teach your children to keep their hands off of things that don’t belong to them. Teach your children these things, there would be much less of a chance that you’d be burying your children!

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