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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Send a letter to express outrage at the downgrading of charges in the killing of Barbara Kentner

Riley Yesno, an Indigenous author and activist, has written a template that can be used to contact Patty Hajdu, the Crown Attorney's Office and David Lametti.

Barbara Kentner

In a shocking turn of events the Crown has downgraded the charges in the brutal killing three years ago of Barbara Kentner, an Indigenous woman in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Kentner was killed after Brayden Bushby allegedly threw a trailer hitch at her from a passing car in what appears to have been a racially motivated attack. She died six months later.

Bushby was originally charged with second-degree murder but now faces lesser charges of aggravated assault and manslaughter. Kentner's family is outraged.

Riley Yesno, "an Anishinaabe woman from Eabametoong First Nation who grew up in Thunder Bay" who is an activist and writer has written a template letter to help people to contact Patty Hajdu, the local Liberal MP, the Crown Attorney's Office and David Lametti, the federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to express their outrage at this move.

The letter reads:

To Whom it May Concern,
On Friday September 11, it was reported that Brayden Bushby- a man who threw a trailer hitch at Barbara Kentner in Thunder Bay in 2017, is to stand trial for manslaughter instead of second-degree murder. I wish to express my outrage and protest of this recent decision.
I believe it is clear that Brayden Bushby had deliberately targeted Barbara Kentner with the trailer hitch, and had sufficient insight to know that striking her with it from a vehicle would likely cause death or other grievous injuries. Thus, for him to stand trial for manslaughter is both an insufficient charge and gross subversion of justice. This is yet another instance of the justice system failing Indigenous people, especially those who have been victims of racist and violent crimes.
This decision is especially appalling in light of the Calls For Justice issued in the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Inquiry’s final report. There were 231 Calls For Justice that report. Among them was tougher sentencing when the crime involves violence towards Indigenous women. Brayden Bushby’s trial has been an opportunity for the justice system to prove they are taking this call seriously- this decision instead signals that Indigenous people’s lives continue to be held to a lower value than non-Indigenous people’s.
I am asking you to do all in your power to change this decision and fight for justice for Barbara Kentner and the lives of all Indigenous people in this country.
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