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Call for police citizens review boards - Rally on Saturday 12 May 2012

Ray Jackson, President, Indigenous Social Justice Association Indymedia 30th April 2012

Since the shooting of 6 unarmed Aboriginal occupants of a stolen car by police officers at Kings Cross we have witnessed a major push by the police, the O'Farrell Government and the (mostly right-wing) media to turn our attention away from the dangerous and possible lethal attack by the police to bring to bear upon the families of the 6 Aboriginal youth involved in the event.

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch opined that we should not just focus on the police shooting but we must broaden our view to take in the wider picture. I totally agree with him but he has access to the wider picture whilst we do not. Show it to the public, please. Let us all be aware of what happened on that morning that 6 of our youth had a near-death experience.

Our successful rally on Tuesday 24 April showed the police and the government quite clearly where the blame belonged but also where the proper solutions must be found. It is within their jurisdiction that change must be made. Changes at the social level, whilst undoubtedly helpful, will not stop police violence by itself. We must accept however that we do have fractured families, along with many other non-Aboriginal families, and we have fractured youth of all persuasions. Such families are moulded by circumstances such as poverty, unemployment, broken homes, among other social crises.

That such is the social case merely highlights the complete and abject failure of previous NSW governments, and the lack of positive social programs by the current government, to address our social problems but especially our youth problems. Our Aboriginal youth are currently some 60% of the juvenile justice population and still rising. But surely the answer does not lie in the police shooting at our kids in such a cavalier or gung-ho fashion. Should the police continue in this extreme action then it could be your child who is shot at next. And most probably killed.

No amount of white-washing by the police or the government removes one iota of their responsibility to stop once and for all the brutality of their police force in dealing with those they see as offenders.

Our call remains the same!

We demand that police brutality, including 5 police-related deaths in custody, be stopped immediately and the NSW police be made answerable to the public by the setting up of Police Citizens Review Boards similar to those of the USA and some European countries. The members of these boards are to be voted in by the people of NSW.

Our second demand is for the NSW government and the police force to bite the bullet for a fully independent investigative unit to be formed of properly qualified professionals who have no connection to any police member past or present. This action will finally give us what we are always told is ours by right of law and that is real justice. A justice that will stop the criminality and the brutality of the police in this state.

The third demand is for Tasers to be removed from all frontline police and a full and open public enquiry be held into their use and who should use them. Such an enquiry would also need to hold an audit and review of the use of Glock hand guns, the requirement for in-depth training, including psychiatric assessment of all officers, of the use of the Glock and finally who should be issued with such a deadly weapon.

Tasers were given the government spin that they were harmless and would save lives. Nothing can be further from the truth. Three days after Roberto Laudisio Curti was tortured and killed by 6 police officers, Premier Barry O'Farrell made the ridiculous and ill-informed statement that Tasers do not kill. Premier, I and so many others totally disagree with you. We know why you made that erroneous statement but we do not agree with your police force either.

The last five days have highlighted that we live in a very split society. We live in a society that allows some few to hoard the facts to themselves so as to continue to keep themselves in power or powerful. They inform us of what the facts are but we call this 'spin.' The public are starved of the real facts for this would be non-advantageous to those in power. Official facts are lies and we must fight against them at all times. Then there are the secret facts that we must continue to fight for, and so it is with the Kings Cross shooting. We demand the full facts and not the government/police/media facts. We demand that Police Commissioner Scipione open this police investigation to the full view of the public and the 6 involved families!

To this end we will be holding another rally on Saturday 12 May 2012 at 2.30 pm outside the Kings Cross police station.

This day is the National Day of Action called for by all Aboriginal groups around Australia, and their supporters, to commemorate the 400+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody since 1 January 1980. Since January this year we have included all deaths in custody to be worthy of inclusion in our demands for real justice.

Come one, come all.

Our fight is your fight is our fight!

FOR KOORI JUSTICE

Ray Jackson, President, Indigenous Social Justice Association

For further information contact Raul Bassi on 0403 037 376 or myself as below:
Phone:(02) 9318 0947, Mobile: 0450 651 063 Email: isja01@internode.on.net
Audio File  AUDIO:  Ray Jackson Indigenous Social Justice Association (ABC 'The World Today')
Audio File  AUDIO:  Ray Jackson Indigenous Social Justice Association (SBS News)