• Townsville, Queensland. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Indigenous Elders in Townsville say there is a growing issue with vigilante justice in the regional city, specifically with non-Indigenous people taking the law into their own hands and targeting Indigenous youth.
By
Douglas Smith

Source:
NITV News
24 Jun 2020 - 9:35 AM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2020 - 9:35 AM

Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents came together for a community meeting in Townsville on Tuesday to raise their concerns about a growing issue of "vigilante justice" in the regional city, which specifically targeted Indigenous youth.  

Local Indigenous Elder, Dr Gracelyn Smallwood, told NITV News that 50 to 60 people expressed their concerns about crime being committed by a "minority" of Indigenous youth and how it was being met with vigilante justice.

“We want to get people coming together and start having these community meetings every fortnight to try and de-escalate all the vigilante stuff on Facebook," said Ms Smallwood. 

“There’s been little high school kids standing out the front of high school, and a car load of whites pulling up and bashing them up. 

“There've been black brothers and sisters driving their car and being run off the road by non-Indigenous people.

“We’re trying to create harmony, they’re calling them Black C’s and saying they’re going to be killed.”

Ms Smallwood said Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents were discussing the possibility of having a 24-hour patrol service to help combat the issue of children being out on the streets after dark. 

"People came to express their concerns about the children out after five, how we want a 24-hour community patrol service so they can collaborate with all the other community organisations as well as, hopefully, the police who could be working in with these organisations," she said. 

“Racism has always been a fact of life here and we don’t want black or white children harmed. 

"We’re trying to pull the communities together so it doesn’t get out of hand.”

The issue was further highlighted last week after Townsville police launched an investigation into a local man for allegedly assaulting two Indigenous boys aged around 10, as they were riding a quad bike in a park in the city's west.  

It’s alleged the man approached the two boys with a bat in his hands at Jabiru Park in the city’s western suburbs, and grabbed one of them on the shoulder. 

A police spokesperson said the two boys did not require medical attention and that investigations were continuing. 

Ms Smallwood said the family of the boy who was grabbed by the man have sought legal advice. 

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