14 year old Elijah Doughty was killed by a White man who only received 3 years backdated to his arrest. A jury acquitted him of manslaughter charges, despite CCTV footage and his admission that he went looking for Elijah thinking he had stolen a junk bike that the killer admits had no sentimental value. Meanwhile Elijah’s motorbikes had been confiscated by police as they believed them stolen; however this was false and the bikes were returned to Doughty family after Elijah’s death. Regardless, no person deserves to die, let alone over a dispute. He’ll likely be free in February. This is sooner than an Aboriginal person protesting Elijah’s death who was charged with property damage.
The judge explained to the Doughty family that Elijah’s death was considered a “medium to low” crime. What a travesty; what a disgrace we are as a nation, to deem the death of a Black child as lesser than property damage.
Australia’s racism is lethal to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We must collectively stop facilitating this societal violence.
At the protests, speakers remembered other recent cases where Indigenous people were killed through malice, negligence or by police, including Ms Dhu, a 23 year old woman who was denied medical assistance by police whilst jailed for petty fines.
The inimitable Jenny Munro spoke at the Sydney protest. She is an Aboriginal rights campaigner, elder and founder of the Redfern Tent Embassy, established to support community housing in inner Sydney. Other speakers discussed the need for action from non-Indigenous Australians to end injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Solidarity means showing up.