The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 76/No. 19      May 14, 2012

Australia rally slams cop
shooting of Aboriginal youth
SYDNEY—More than 200 people rallied here April 24 outside the New South Wales Parliament House to protest the cop shooting of two young Aboriginal men a few days earlier.

Police claim that at around 4 a.m. on April 21 they recognized a carload of Aboriginal youth on the main street of the Kings Cross nightclub district. As the cops moved toward the car, which they claim was stolen, they say the driver tried to get away, driving the car onto the footpath (sidewalk) and hitting two pedestrians.

According to the police, they then opened fire at close range, hitting the 14-year-old driver in the chest. Video clips taken by eyewitnesses showed cops dragging and throwing to the ground Troy Taylor, 18, the front-seat passenger who was also shot. They then bashed Taylor repeatedly in the head. Both remain in serious condition in the hospital. The four youth in the back seat of the car were also arrested.

Tory Bell, 17, who said he was of Aboriginal and New Zealand Maori descent, was among those at the rally. He told the Militant that Taylor was his roommate at the Emu Plains Juvenile Detention Centre for six months. “If he was white, the police wouldn’t have shot him,” he said.

“I don’t like the way the media makes out like colored youth are criminals,” said Shara, 17, who described herself as “half Fijian, half Filipina.” She said cops had beaten her mother and uncle when she was younger.

Aboriginal youth make up nearly 60 percent of the inmates in juvenile detention centers in Australia, but less than 5 percent of the youth population. About half of the inmates in these prisons are awaiting trial.

In adult prisons, Aborigines, who make up less than 3 percent of the population, now represent 26 percent of inmates.

Faith Bon, a 45-year-old Aboriginal woman from Woolloomooloo, an intercity suburb of Sydney, spoke at the April 24 rally. “They are terrorizing us,” she said. “We don’t want our kids to go on the street.”

Ray Jackson from the Indigenous Social Justice Association, which called the rally, said the April 21 police shooting and assault were criminal acts and demanded the officers responsible be charged. The group is calling for an independent investigation.

The Indigenous Social Justice Association organized a rally April 3 to protest the killing by cops of Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti March 18. Curti was capsicum (pepper) sprayed then chased by six cops here who fired Tasers several times after a packet of cookies was allegedly stolen from a convenience store. He died on the spot.

The cops report that since 2009 they used Tasers on more than 4,400 occasions across the country.

The April 24 rally was called a week after the Corruption and Crime Commission in Western Australia finally recommended charges be filed against two cops who used Tasers more than three and a half years ago on Kevin Spratt, who is Aboriginal. The attack at a Perth police station—where Tasers were fired nine times in about one minute—was caught on video, sparking widespread condemnation and protest. The two officers are still on duty.
Related articles:
Other fights gather strength in wake of Trayvon Martin protests
March in New Orleans protests killings by cops  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home