Indigenous woman shot by police in Geraldton
Please note, this story contains the names of people who have died.
A 29-year-old woman has died at the hands of police after they were called to an incident in Geraldton, just over 400km north of Perth, WA on Tuesday night.
NIT understands police were attending an incident on Petchell Street in the Geraldton suburb of Karloo at about 6.15pm when an officer “discharged their firearm causing a woman to receive a gunshot wound” to the stomach.
The young woman was taken to Geraldton Regional Hospital where she died later that night.
A statement from WA Police at 9.30pm last night said the woman had been “conveyed to Geraldton Regional Hospital.”
WA Police did not confirm her death until the following morning.
Protesters gathered outside Geraldton police station today, calling the incident murder and demanding police be removed from investigating their own.
Although tensions were high at the police station, Regional WA Commander Alan Morton said in a press conference he held no concern of rioting overnight.
Detectives from the Major Crime division have travelled to Geraldton to investigate the incident while a separate enquiry by the police internal affairs unit will be undertaken to assess police conduct.
A WA Police spokesperson said this is “standard protocol for all police shooting incidents.”
In the press conference at Geraldton Police Station, Commander Morton confirmed the incident is currently being investigated by the Major Crime division and the Professional Standards portfolio, as well as independent investigations by the Corruption and Crime Commission and the State Coroner.
As the investigation is ongoing, the Commander could not confirm reports the woman was wielding a knife or if the police officers in question were wearing body cams.
It also remains unconfirmed whether the woman was related to the disturbance that officers were called out to in Karloo.
“Everyone wants quick answers. But it’s just unfair for me to draw early conclusions on anything surrounding this tragic incident,” Commander Morton said.
Commander Morton said senior WA Police Force officers are working with members of the community, including Aboriginal community leaders.
“A number of specialist police resources have been deployed to the Midwest Gascoyne district to assist with this investigation … [including] the Aboriginal Affairs division,” Commander Morton said.
Commander Morton said there are a number of witnesses to be interviewed and that police are attempting to identify more witnesses who may have crucial information related to the incident.
The Commander also said the First-Class Constable who fired their weapon was a Geraldton officer and has taken immediate leave in the wake of the incident.
“To the Aboriginal community of Geraldton and the Midwest Gascoyne, I extend my most sincere and deepest condolences to all of you, I know how much this would have rocked the community,” Commander Morton said at the press conference.
This is not the first time Geraldton has dealt with a police-related Indigenous death.
Young Yamatji woman Julieka Dhu, who died in police custody in Port Hedland in 2014, was originally from Geraldton, where her family still resides.
This comes as the inquest into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day has ended, leaving the Day family unsatisfied as they request an independent criminal investigation.