Ms Dhu’s grandmother Carol Roe joins Geraldton protest over fatal shooting
The grandmother of a Yamatji woman who died in police custody has joined a protest over the alleged police shooting death of a woman in Geraldton last night.
Carol Roe, whose granddaughter Ms Dhu died from septicaemia and pneumonia in August 2014 three days after she was locked up in South Hedland, said she was devastated to hear about the death of 29-year-old Joyce Clarke.
The circumstances leading to Ms Clarke’s death are under investigation, as per standard protocol with an alleged police shooting.
Ms Roe is one of about 100 people protesting outside Geraldton Police Station today, where officers lowered the Aboriginal flag in sympathy for the loss.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Ms Roe said, when she heard the news of yesterday’s death.
“We all want justice and we want the police held accountable.”
Geraldton Police Station officer in charge Senior Sergeant Jason Scragg briefly addressed the gathering and asked them to keep the protest peaceful.
Others at the protest described Ms Clarke as a “happy go lucky girl”.
Charmaine Papertalk Green said she convened the protest because the community “needs to know we’re distressed”.
“We’re asking where were the tasers? Where was the pepper spray? Where were the dogs? Why was a gun used,” she said.
Protesters have asked that the investigation into the fatal shooting not be carried out by police, but by another investigative authority.
They also claim mental health services for Aboriginal people are inadequate.
Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service chair Sandy Davies told the crowd the police investigating team had promised to give their report to Ms Clarke’s family, before the Coroner hands down a report.
Mr Davies called on the crowd to show support for Ms Clarke’s family.
During his address, a member of the crowd called out “this community is fractured”.
Meanwhile, WA Police Union President Harry Arnott said the WA Police Union was standing by members involved in “this tragic incident”.
“Our thoughts go out to the police officers involved and their families in this terrible circumstance,” he said.
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