Australia: Aboriginals attack court and cops after 14 year old killed
Protesters smash up courthouse as racial tensions erupt after Aboriginal boy, 14, was found dead in the bush next to a stolen motorbike – and a man, 55, is charged with manslaughter
By Freya Noble and Peter Devlin, Daily Mail, August 30, 2016
People smashed windows and jumped on police cars at a West Australian courthouse after a protest over the death of a local teenager turned violent.
A 55-year-old man, who cannot be named, was due to appear at a court in Kalgoorlie, east of Perth, charged with the manslaughter of a 14-year-old Aboriginal boy, Elijah Doughty.
The boy’s body was found in nearby bushland on Monday morning.
But violent scenes erupted outside the courthouse with around 200 people smashing building windows with rocks and bottles.
During the violent clash 12 police officers were injured with one needing medical attention, police say.
Five cars were smashed when the protest turned violent – but streets have returned to normal after police reinforcements turned up.
‘Several people have been taken into custody in relation to assault police and disorderly offences,’ police said.
It is not yet known if any of the protesters have been charged yet.
According to The West Australian, family and friends of the teenager broke through the gates to the court before throwing rocks through windows.
Others threw bottles at the building and the ABC reported a police officer had been injured during the clash.
A number of people were pictured standing on top of police cars, two of whom were clutching an Aboriginal flag after the boy’s death sparked tensions between local police and the Indigenous community.
Footage from the scene shows dozens of people marching through the streets outside the building, chanting and holding signs.
Demonstrators were seen carrying Aboriginal flags, as well as banners that read: ‘We Want Justice’ and ‘All Lives Matter, Save Our Kids’.
The crowd could be heard chanting: ‘We want justice’ and ‘When do we want it? Now!’.
Doughty’s aunt said the teenager was the third person in the family to die in recent weeks, and described her nephew as ‘a bit of a prankster’.
‘He was a very happy-go-lucky kid; he was never a bad kid,’ the woman told the Kalgoorlie Miner.
He was not a straight-A student but his circumstances were hard, he struggled at school but he had other issues to prioritise.’
Since the public backlash, West Australian police has issued a statement urging the community to stay safe in the wake of the riots.
‘We understand there is significant community concern over events in the Goldfields during the past 24 hours.
‘Members of the public have a right to protest, however, we encourage them to do so peacefully, or they may be arrested.
‘WA Police has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the entire community and will actively police the current situation in Kalgoorlie,’ the statement read.
Police said they were working closely with Aboriginal Leaders in order to help the community.
The courthouse also confirmed that the riots had caused disruption on the main road in the town, Hannan Street, and there would be ‘a full inquiry’ into the disturbance.
The man charged with manslaughter, 55, was remanded in custody and will appear at the Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court in Perth via videolink on Wednesday.
Doughty’s death sparked racial tensions between the Aboriginal community and police in Kalgoorlie.
On Monday morning police responded to reports of a crash in bushland off Clancy Street in Boulder on Monday morning, and discovered the dead boy.
The motorcycle has been confirmed as being subject to a stolen vehicle report, which was reported to WA Police on Sunday 28 August.
The second vehicle involved in the incident, a Nissan Navara utility, is linked to the owner of the stolen motorcycle.
A 55-year-old man was charged with manslaughter, and was refused bail to appear in the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning.
Kalgoorlie detectives are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.