Crime & Justice

Murder of indigenous teen, police response causes outrage in Australia

Sydney, Australia, Nov 3 (EFE).- The brutal murder of an indigenous teen – described by the prime minister as a racist attack – and the allegedly insensitive police response to it has triggered a wave of outrage in Australia, where the indigenous population has been historically discriminated against.

Thousands of people have rallied at different parts of the country in recent days to demand justice for the killing of 15-year-old Cassius Turvey by a 21-year-old white man using a metal pole in the southwestern city of Perth.

The violent assault took place on Oct.13 when Cassius was leaving from school, 10 days after which he succumbed to his injuries.

At a vigil overnight in front of Sydney’s city hall, in which 2,000 people participated, according to local media reports, they lit candles and displayed photos in memory of the teenager.

In an emotional speech written by the mother of the deceased, and read by one of the participants, she remembered her son as a bright and a kind young boy who treated everybody equally and with respect, and hoped that his death would not cause more violence.

Moreover, a controversy has erupted over the police response after the police commissioner of Western Australia region, Col Blanch, claimed the boy was in the “wrong place, wrong time,” during a radio interview on Oct.25.

These words were “insensitive to say the least and apologetic toward the accused man at worst,” an indigenous police officer said in a letter published by national broadcaster ABC on Thursday.

“The statement by Commissioner Col Blanch about the alleged murder of Cassius Turvey was, to be frank, atrocious,” the officer added, who did not wish to be identified.

“If a black child can’t walk home from school without fear then this isn’t a civil society. This is lawlessness. This is barbaric. This is shameful,” journalist Brooke Boney stressed in an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper on Wednesday.

Against criticism, commissioner Blanch told ABC on Wednesday that he meant to say Cassius “was an innocent person in the wrong place” and spported the fight against racism.

The accused, who according to the police said he acted believing that Cassius had smashed his car’s windows earlier, will appear in a Perth court this month for formal reading of his charges.

This incident was “clearly racially motivated,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to the media on Oct 28.

The homicide of Cassius Turvey brings back memories of the killing of a 14 year old indigenous boy, Elijah Doughty, in 2016, when a white man ran over him with his car, thinking the teenager had stolen his motorcycle.

In 2017, the man responsible, 56, was acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of a lesser charge of dangerous driving, something that caused resentment among the indigenous community.

Indigenous Australians, who represent 3.2 percent of the country’s population of more than 35 million people, have been constant victims of abuse since colonization, besides being dispossessed of their land and being systemically discriminated against by institutions, organizations and the society in general. EFE


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