“Devastated” Indigenous community to hold nationwide protests on Thursday against JC verdict

Michael RobertsMidwest Times
Protesters take to Geraldton streets on Saturday.
Camera IconProtesters take to Geraldton streets on Saturday. Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

Outraged communities will again take to the streets in the Mid West and across Australia on Thursday to protest the acquittal of a police officer who fatally shot an Aboriginal mother two years ago.

A national day of action has been organised to express frustration and sadness over the death of 29-year-old Yamatji woman, JC, who was shot in the stomach while armed with a bread knife and a pair of scissors in 2019.

Rallies will be held on the steps of parliament in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane, with protesters also to gather outside Geraldton and New South Wales courthouses.

Thursday’s campaign comes after about 150 people on Saturday stamped blood red and white handprints on the walls of the Geraldton Police Station and courthouse as they demanded an end to racial inequality and an overhaul of the justice system.

It took a jury three hours to find a Geraldton police officer –— who cannot be named — not guilty of murder and manslaughter on Friday after a 21/2 week trial in the WA Supreme Court.

About 150 people protested outside the Geraldton Police Station.
Camera IconAbout 150 people protested outside the Geraldton Police Station. Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

JC’s foster mother Anne Jones in a statement said the verdict had “devastated” her family, with shock soon turning into “resentment, anger and rage”.

“We will continue to fight for justice, accountability, culpability and stand in solidarity, unity and strength with other families across the nation,” she said.

Mid West Gascoyne District Supt Roger Beer said police would continue to work with the Aboriginal community during the “difficult time”.

“It’s been a difficult time for police as well because we want to improve our relationships with Aboriginal people, obviously, and this has set us back a bit,” he said.

“We will keep working at it. We respect their right to have a voice.”

An hour after the not-guilty verdict was handed down, WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson made an impassioned plea for calm, acknowledging that the case was one of the most difficult chapters in the history between Aboriginal people in Western Australia and the WA Police Force.

Protestors painted messages of support for the Black Lives Matter movement outside the Geraldton courthouse.
Camera IconProtestors painted messages of support for the Black Lives Matter movement outside the Geraldton courthouse. Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

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