Almost 14 years to the day from the death of Aboriginal teenager TJ Hickey, who was killed while being pursued by police, another Aboriginal person has died during a police operation in Waterloo and NSW Police are already not telling the whole truth.
Greens MP and spokesperson for Justice, David Shoebridge said:
Today police announced that “a critical incident investigation has commenced following the death of a man in Waterloo.”
NSW Police say the man, who was 31-years-old, died as a result of a fall from a balcony.
They say they were at an address at Waterloo today to “look for a man who was wanted on warrants” acting on information from the public.
What they failed to say is that the young man who was killed is Aboriginal.
We know this because Police included this information in a post to Facebook and media release just a few days earlier asking for public assistance to locate the deceased.
The Facebook post has since been deleted.
The police also failed to state that the Aboriginal man died during a police operation to arrest him.
It is a fact that Aboriginal people are far more likely to die or be injured as a result of interactions with police than non-Aboriginal people.
Their loved ones have a far harder time obtaining transparency and redress from the criminal justice system.
The NSW Police Force’s decision to omit the deceased’s Aboriginality coupled with the attempt to delete information previously available to the public is extremely disturbing.
Most Aboriginal people are already suspicious of critical incident investigations which have police investigating police when someone is killed during police operations.
This suspicion and mistrust only grows when police fail to tell the whole truth at the start of an investigation into yet another Aboriginal death.
Whatever the next steps are they must include genuinely independent oversight including by an organisation or individual who has the respect of the family and the Aboriginal community,” Mr Shoebridge said.