As America goes through increasingly frequent media driven paroxysms, over police killings or supposed killings of black people like St George of Fentanyl who were in the middle of getting their lives together, some comparisons with Aborigines and a similar case of a police killing of a black man, here.
Aborigines, like black Americans, are:
- very over-represented in crime statistics, and so they naturally have more run ins with police, although here it is rare for a policeman to shoot an Aborigine, at least for the one reason that Aborigines are extremely unlikely to carry guns, and they are usually not physically imposing (though they are often tough as nails)
- near sacred beings, because they are not white, but black, and are also underachievers (because of racism/colonisation/oppression, as the story goes)
However, for now, the attitude towards what police killings of Aborigines there are is in some ways different to that of the current American experience, or at least not at any kind of insane level of blindness to reality.
As an example, on 9 November 2019 one of these sacred beings, Kumanjayi Walker, was shot three times by Constable Zachary Rolfe in Walker’s home in Yuendumu, Northern Territory, 290 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs, about 1,500 kilometres from the capital Darwin.
Rolfe and other police had raided his home in order to arrest him for previous violent offences, and the cause of the shooting was Walker stabbing Rolfe with a pair of scissors.
It seems like obvious self defence but Rolfe was immediately arrested and charged with murder, and it was rather obvious that the police/state prosecutors were falling over themselves here to assuage any anger about the events, and make sure that if Rolfe walked away scot free from the events in the end that it had all been done by the book. Rolfe has been free on bail since Nov. 2019, and is suspended from work on full pay.
The media certainly covered the case, and they give updates on its progression (the trial starts in July 2021), and there were protests in Alice Springs and Sydney/Melbourne at the time, but they were not violent in any way, and generally there is no giant hoo-ha about the whole thing and if you mentioned the names Zachary Rolfe or Kumanjayi Walker you would get a blank stare from most people outside the Territory.
The media as far as we can tell don’t lie or distort things about this case and plainly state that the officer was stabbed first, and that the arrest attempt was for the victim’s previous litany of crimes.
People in NT tend to be very realistic about the rather crime and inebriation prone full or majority blooded Aborigines, and often despise them, to a level that would shock the average southerner, as people in Melbourne/Sydney will rarely have any interaction with Aborigines, or even see one in the flesh in day to day life.
Finally, it is very likely that Rolfe will get a fair trial (it will not be held in Alice Springs, but in far away Darwin, to avoid getting a prejudiced jury, whereas in the Floyd case there was a refusal to move the trial away from Minneapolis, where the supposed crime occurred), and certain that the jury will not feel their lives or livelihoods are in danger because they delivered the ‘wrong’ verdict, unlike the trial of Derek Chauvin in Minnesota.