The teenage cousin of a young Indigenous boy, who was killed in a vehicle crash on Monday, has been lauded for her bravery after making a powerful stand in the middle of yesterday’s Kalgoorlie protests.
In the midst of the confusion and violence that erupted outside the Magistrates Court, Indigenous 18-year-old Hayley Garlett, and her mother Patricia Gerardi, put themselves inbetween the police line and protesters in an attempt to defuse tensions.
With her arms outstretched, Garlett moved to protect the officers from harm as bottles and rocks were being thrown and the courthouse windows and police vehicles damaged.
“I didn’t really think about it at all. It was just quick-thinking really,” she told Nine of her actions, “I just knew it was wrong. They’re there to protect us. They’re not the ones that did that.”
The protest, which involved hundreds of people, broke out as the 55-year-old man who is charged with Doughty’s manslaughter was due to appear before the court.
The boy died on Monday after an allegedly stolen motorcycle he was riding was struck by a car driven by the accused.
Garlett has been heaped with praise for her “courage and dignity” online after an image of her standing in front of the police was shared o social media last night.
“This young lady deserves every recognition and commendation she can get for her act of bravery and maturity amongst scenes of violence and chaos,” the post read.
“This is a true act of class and maturity... Well done,” one of the nearly 700 people who commented wrote.
Another user suggested that Garlett should be awarded Australian of the Year, saying, “You are the middle line that broke the line of race. You stood equal to your white & indigenous brothers and sisters, you broke the wall, something not many people stand up and do!! Kudos to you and your mother”.
A dozen police officers were injured and several protesters arrested following the protest. A candlelight vigil was held in Doughty’s memory on Tuesday night.