Tuesday, September 06, 2016
Australia: Black elders call it racism when a black kid is killed while stealing
No awareness shown that the whole thing originated in black crime
Community leaders have called for calm after a violent riot sparked by the death of a 14-year-old Indigenous boy in WA, but have also voiced concerns about racism they fear sparked the incident.
Elijah Doughty, who was killed after he was allegedly struck by the driver of a ute while riding a motorcycle in Kalgoorlie, was remembered at an emotional candle-lit vigil attended by hundreds of community members last night.
The motorcycle was allegedly stolen, and according to Western Australian police was linked to the driver of the utility.
Violent scenes erupted on Tuesday outside the town's courthouse after the accused was charged with manslaughter, with many voicing frustration that the charge was not more serious.
A dozen police officers were injured as people threw rocks and bottles, and five police cars and a local business were damaged. Several people were arrested and charged.
But after the violence waned, two senior members of the community highlighted vicious race-based comments on Kalgoorlie community social media pages, and say they contributed to the atmosphere of tension in the town.
Bruce Smith said the death and subsequent riot had affected not just the community of Kalgoorlie, but Indigenous people across the country.
Elijah Doughty has been remembered as a great footballer. © Facebook via ABC News Elijah Doughty has been remembered as a great footballer. He called on the police to tackle an undercurrent of racism he said had boiled over onto social media, where Aboriginal people were being threatened with rape and violence.
"Those are the ones that are going to continue brewing those attitudes we don't want to see, and it's all coming out on social media, on Facebook.
"Our Indigenous people living in Kalgoorlie and Boulder, they will continue living [here].
"They have been living here for a long, long time, and they are part of this community, whether other people like it or not, non-Aboriginal people like it or not.
"They've got to learn that these people are going to live, and their descendents are going to live, and the justice system that's going to serve them should be put right so that the future generation of our youths in this town, Goldfields and Boulder, are being protected."
He said there was a feeling of frustration about the justice system and the comparative leniency of the charge against Elijah's alleged killer, which may have sparked the riot.
"I think what we need to see is, 'where is the justice'," he said.
"What are they going to do about it? The justice system, is it working for all Australians?"
Elder Aubrey Lynch, whose grandson was close to Elijah, said he was disappointed to see the violence on the streets of Kalgoorlie, and that it was ruining the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
"We don't like violence anywhere in any case, because violence causes more trouble.
"Here we are trying to build that relationship, and this kind of thing is going to happen, it's going to separate us all."
Acting Kalgoorlie Mayor Allan Pendal described the riot as the worst violence he had seen in the town in three decades.
He said it would be naive to suggest there was not a simmering tension between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the town, but no-one, including the police, expected such a turn of events.
"I think they [the police] were caught off-guard," he said.
"From here we've got to, from the city's point of view, meet with their leadership people, community leaders and police and try to address the issues that are there.
Elijah's grandfather said he hoped some lesson could be learnt from the boy's death.
"I just think, well, if anything can come out of it good, it'd be for the community to wake up to themselves and realise, to keep their kids home, not let them roam the streets and the wider community to help the Aboriginal people work together and live together, live side by side instead of having this hatred," he said.
Community comes together to remember lost child
A large number of children and families gathered peacefully last night at a makeshift shrine where Elijah died, lighting candles and festooning the area with flowers and coloured lights.
A local supermarket donated food.
There has been an outpouring of grief on social media for the child, with many sharing his photo and messages of support for his family.
"Rest easy dude, devastating news, thoughts are with ya pop and brothers and family," Rory Kelly wrote.
Elijah's grandfather Albert Doughty said his grandson was a talented footballer.
"He was a good sportsman. He's played for Kalgoorlie City Football Club since he was 11. They got in the grand final. But he won't be there," he said.
Original report here
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Posted by bussorah at 9:07 AM