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‘Stepped back woman’ shot by police in Geraldton

18 September, 2019

By SJA Jafri + ABC News

PERTH/ MELBOURNE: In the history of the world there is no example of police shooting and murdering an ‘un-armed’ woman who stepped back and neither she was in a position to do anything against police nor any possibility of any type of danger accorded at woman’s or her open or hidden companion’s end and she would be shot by police but it happens in Australia as happened many times previously like many other severe ‘police crimes’ which are still unreported or officially unrevealed, victims, witnesses, former police officials, experts and sources alleged.

Talking to PMI a woman said on anonymity condition that all happened very quickly.

He said police in one vehicle pulled alongside the woman and she began shouting at them and when another vehicle arrived, they all jumped out.

She said the woman was not lunging at police but had taken a step back.

According to a report of ABC News, a woman has died in hospital after being shot by police on a suburban street in Geraldton, about 400 kilometers north of Perth, leading friends and relatives to question why police didn’t employ non-lethal force to deal with her.

Officers were at a house in Geraldton, about 400 kilometers north of Perth, shortly before 6:30pm yesterday when the 29-year-old woman was shot after police were overheard by witnesses telling her to drop a knife.

“During an incident at the address, an officer discharged their firearm causing a woman to receive a gunshot wound,” a Western Australia (WA) Police spokeswoman said.

“The 29-year-old woman was conveyed by ambulance to Geraldton Regional Hospital where she later died.”

The ABC News has chosen not to name or use a picture of the woman without family permission because of her Indigenous heritage.

Police are investigating the incident and have officers from the Major Crime Division, Professional Standards Portfolio and the Aboriginal Affairs Division involved.

‘Black lives matter 2’: Protest builds at police station

Family members and friends gathered on Wednesday to protest outside the police station against what they said was excessive force used in the situation.

There are conflicting witness reports about what happened right before the woman was shot.

Some of the protesters held signs that read “Black lives matter 2”, “What is a taser for?” and “Is it open season on Blackfellas?”.

A friend of the victim, Sandra Comeagain, said people wanted answers.

“Who’s safe in Geraldton?” Comeagain asked.

I’ve got grandkids; I’ve got great grandkids growing up in this town, what’s their future if they can get away with this?”

The woman was also remembered by her friends who mourned her loss.

“[She] was a lovely girl, she might have been on drugs, but she was a lovely person,” Comeagain said.

“There’s no need for that. Where were the tasers? Where was the pepper spray? She would have been still here today.”

Comeagain said she doubted a police investigation would provide any answers.

“She wasn’t my family, she was my little friend who always was a happy-go-lucky girl,” she said.

“It hurts for (her) to be taken like that. And maybe we’ll never get any answers, you never know, that’s how it goes.

“Look at all the black deaths in custody. No-one’s answered to them. So this is just going to be swept underneath the carpet like all the rest.

WA Police have issued city-wide liquor restrictions “due to high emotions within the Geraldton community, permitting only mid-strength beer to be served and one bottle of wine sold to customers”.

Sale of all spirits, full-strength beer, pre-mixed drinks, cash wine and fortified wine will be prohibited until Saturday.

Officer traumatized by incident: Police

Regional Police Commander Alan Morton said senior officers had been working closely with the woman’s family and community members to help everyone “get through this tragic incident”.

“A number of specialist police resources have been deployed to the Midwest–Gascoyne district to assist with this investigation, that includes the Major Crime Division, Professional Standards Portfolio and the Aboriginal Affairs Division,” Commander Morton said.

“In addition to that internal oversight there’s also oversight by the Corruption and Crime Commission and further independent investigation by the state coroner.”

Commander Morton said it was very traumatic for the officer who pulled the trigger.

“No one expects to commence duty and have to use lethal force in the execution of that duty,” he said.

“Tragically it was not the case for that officer last night.”

Family members say they called police to get medical help

Family spokesman Sandy Davies said the woman had returned home from a mental institution a few days ago, and the family called police for help to get her back to hospital.

“She was having difficulty at home with her family last night and her family called police to assist to get her to the hospital, and as a result of that she was shot dead by a police officer,” he said.

Family members held a three-hour meeting with police earlier today.

Davies said the family told him regardless of the circumstances, they would never phone police for help again.

“The family was much traumatized and people can understand that,” Mr Davies said.

“It was very raw on their mind and it was a very emotional time in that room today, and very few people sitting in that room wasn’t crying.”

Davies said the family has questioned why police were not wearing body cameras during the incident.

“Police responded by saying ‘well, they hadn’t been rolled out in Geraldton yet’,” he said.

“The State Government should be ashamed of themselves because the camera structure was agreed to and passed in Parliament and should have been rolled out across the length and width of the state now.”

Davies said the family had been promised around-the-clock access to police and access to the police report before it was sent to the coroner.

‘She’s been shot, ring the ambulance’

A witness living on the same street said her sister heard a bang and then saw police crowd around a woman on the ground.

“I come running out here looking like what the hell … when I looked there were like eight police on the ground around the young woman.

“I was concerned thinking it was one of my sisters, that’s why I was running out there.

“I had my daughter on me and I went out there and I heard, ‘she’s been shot, ring the ambulance’, so I just grabbed her (daughter) and ran back inside … I was terrified, it was scary.”

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