As emotions boiled over on the streets of Kalgoorie, one young woman placed herself at the centre of the storm. Elijah Doughty’s cousin Hayley Garlett bravely shielded Police from her community, as they vented their anger at Elijah’s death.
“I don’t really know what I was thinking when it happened. My mind went blank,” Garlett says.
With her arms outstretched, Garlett protected the officers, as bottles and rocks damaged windows and police vehicles.
Her courage has been praised in social media, amidst comments condemning the violence and the community. Now, moved by the love for her cousin, she’s calling on protestors to remember why they were there in the first place.
“Everything that happened took away the focus over what happened to Elijah. That’s not why we were there,” Garlett says.
The protest, which involved hundreds of people, broke out as the 55-year-old man who is charged with Elijah’s manslaughter was due to appear in court. The boy died after the accused struck the allegedly stolen motorcycle he was riding.
While the street violence and racist comments on social media initially dominated the mainstream coverage of the protests, Garlett is relieved to find that a week later, the conversation is shifting again to what really matters: what happened to Elijah.
Garlett told NITV: “It’s not about the race, the racist comment. We want everyone to unite because we can’t keep going on like this… It’s sad we’ve lost him and just want justice now
“We wanted to make the biggest headlines and show that we’re here for Elijah… All the coverage it’s been getting, it’s been amazing.”
“It’s not about the race, the racist comment. We want everyone to unite because we can’t keep going on like this… It’s sad we’ve lost him and just want justice now."
Elijah’s family say they feel grateful for all the kind-heartedness they’ve received from their community during this difficult time.
“I’m quite shocked by all the support when I go into the shops. I get the impression of ‘oh that’s the lady there,’” Garlett says.
The hearing for the man charged with Elijah’s manslaughter will take place on the 28th of September.