Supporters of Gerald Stanley are rallying in a quiet way online by donating to a Go Fund Me page created to support Gerald Stanley’s family in the wake of his acquittal in the death of Colten Boushie.
Since it was created immediately after the not guilty verdict Friday night, the Go Fund Me page quickly surpassed its original goal of $25,000. As of Monday morning, Stanley’s supporters had raised more than $70,000.
“All funds raised will be going to the Stanley family, in an effort to help them recoup some of their lost time, property and vehicles that were damaged, harvest income, and sanity during this entire difficult situation they have been dealing with over the past two years,” reads the story section of the online fundraiser.
Sam Olson is identified as the creator of the GoFundMe campaign. 980 CJME reached out to him through the website and received an emailed response to questions about the campaign. He said he does not know the Stanley family personally and is not a farmer himself, but has lived in rural Saskatchewan for most of his life. He also lived on an acreage near the Stanley farm for a short time.
Olson wrote the idea for the fundraiser was a group effort from farmers in the area but his page happened to be the first one to be posted and it stuck. He said he has been in contact with the Stanley family about the fundraiser.
He credits the number of rural landowners in the province for the “immense” amount of donations.
“Through so many eyes, this entire event has been seen as a ‘what if that was me’ which is why I think it has received the immense amount of donations it has,” Olson wrote.
While he said the campaign has received a lot of positive feedback, Olson described a lot of the comments as being “terribly hateful and threatening.” He wrote that it is frustrating to see people up in arms.
When asked about the public backlash against the not guilty verdict, he wrote: “I have to say I do agree with the verdict, but I also agree what happened was a terrible tragedy, and my deepest sympathies go out to the Bouchie family for their loss.”
In response to those criticizing the existence of a fundraising campaign in support of Stanley, Olson wrote in his opinion and by legal definition, he has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
“There have been comments made, saying that jury selection had something to do with the outcome of the trial. I will have to strongly disagree with that.
He went on to write that to be selected to serve on a jury, people must be completely impartial and he believes in this case they were.