After spending five days in the town, NITV heard some horrific stories from the friends and family of Elijah Doughty, affectionately remembered as Lijah.
Huddled around the warm glow of the campfire, set up next to the site Elijah was killed, on the anniversary of his death - friends candidly spoke of their own experiences with the law and racism in town.
“I remember one time me and Lijah, we were walking from school but we were going up town for Thursday – it was late night shopping – and we walked into a little deli and we went to buy fish, or something like chips or something to drink, you know something to eat along the way,” Elijah’s friend Victor began.
“And [a guy] was working at the shop at the time, I don’t know if he still works there now. He was just being racist to us and when we walked out he said ‘get the f**k out of my shop’ and stuff.
“You’d be riding on your own motorbike and people will be in their own cars right behind trying to swerve at you."
“You know, why would you say that? We only come to buy stuff and leave. We never done anything wrong, we never tried to steal or anything, we had money on us at the time you know."
For these boys, being chased on their own motorbikes is an everyday occurrence... one that terrifies them.
“You’d be riding on your own motorbike and people will be in their own cars right behind trying to swerve at you,” Billy-Joe said.
"We’re the people who will get charged or thrown in jail at the end of the day."
“Sometimes you’ll be walking along the streets and you’ve got people screaming out their window at you: ‘f**k you, black c**ts’, or poking up signs or something you know. It’s pretty f**ked up. But you can’t do nothing because we’re the people who will get charged or thrown in jail at the end of the day,” Victor says.
“Because we’re black,” Billy-Joe adds.
“Yeah, because of our skin colour. If we were white, yeah we’d probably be able to do something about it,” Victor says.
But perhaps, what’s most disturbing is the way their eyes light up when they talk about motorbikes, and how quickly they darken when remembering they have to justify whether or not they own them.
Halfway through telling a story about the way he, Lijah and his friends would ride out bush in their free time, Victor says:
“They weren’t stolen or anything, they were families. Yeah, we just borrowed them for the day.”
Billy-Joe says having their own belongings confiscated by the police or residents of Kalgoorlie-Boulder is a regular thing.
“People do chase us a lot, especially if they see a young kid on a motorbike, just going for a ride anywhere, probably just going for a ride out bush, they’ll still chase him, pull him over, take his motorbike off him or something,” Victor says.
“I’ve had my motorbike taken off me three times in three months and it was my own motorbike. They kept saying I was riding on the road but really there was bush behind my house. I go out the back through the alleyway and that there, straight out to the bush,” Billy-Joe says.
“It was the same police officers that kept pulling me over too. They had something against me, they didn’t like me or something.”