Mis pasos en esta calle
En otra calle
Oigo mis pasos
Pasar en esta calle
Sólo es real la niebla.
Octavio Paz – March 31, 1914 – April 19, 1998 was a Mexican writer, poet, and diplomat, and the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature.
My footsteps in the street
In another street
I hear my footsteps
Passing in this street
Nothing is real but the fog
To most Australian’s the life of Kieffen Raggett is not even a “re-echo in another street”; his echo is lost in the racist fog that blurs Australia’s consciousness when it comes to Australians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait descent.
Kieffen Owen Jayden Raggett was 8 years old when he went missing from his home in Borroloola at lunch time on 2 October 2007. After an extensive search he was tragically located deceased at about 4.30 pm on 4 October 2007. His body was found in a shallow, muddy, waterhole approximately 500 metres from the Borroloola subdivision where he lived. Although it is likely the young boy drowned, I cannot exclude a reasonable possibility that he was deceased before being placed into the water. Accordingly, his cause of death remains undetermined.
Mr Greg Cavanagh SM Northern Territory Coroner conducting Inquest into Kieffen Raggett death.
When Kieffen’s body was found in the waterhole, investigating police, despite the fact that at least 2 large rocks were found in Kieffen’s shorts, quickly concluded that the death was an accidental drowning following a fall and the matter was allocated to a local police member to complete a coronial file. This early decision to classify the death as non-suspicious was a critical point in the investigation. Thereafter, the investigation was given neither the priority, nor the seniority of investigators, that it deserved. Minimum standards of investigation were not adhered to. Critical avenues of inquiry were overlooked and the circumstances surrounding this death were not considered systematically or comprehensively. The poor management of seized items and the crime scene resulted in evidence being compromised or destroyed.
In his remarks during the Inquest into Kieffen’s, the Coroner made the following comments:
The young boy was considered to be an obedient, capable, intelligent, and happy child who admired his father. I am told he worked hard in the yards at Mallapunyah Station and his hobbies included horseback and motorbike riding, soccer and playing with shanghais (sling-shots). He was often seen with the family’s pet dog, a red heeler.
The young boy’s school file was tendered in the inquest. The boy’s teacher and school principal thought he had academic and social potential and were shocked and saddened by his death.
Isn’t that exactly what white Australia tells all ATSI Australians that we must become – obedient, intelligent, hardworking and social? But when we do become that, we remain nonetheless ‘others’, black people merely living around white society, subject to white society’s laws, but sharing none of the benefits normally associated with obedience to the ‘rule of law’.
Kieffen’s tragic death at the hands of what many, suspect to be a serial sex offender highlights the true nature of white Australia’s attitude to the original and rightful owners of the land we all call home. During the course of his Inquest into the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Kieffen Raggett, Mr Cavanagh identified several persons of interest, one of whom was at the time of the Inquest a prisoner on remand for child sexual assault matters and who had been connected to Kieffen’s case in 2009. Mr Cavanagh said this had occurred after the man’s DNA had been found to be a match to DNA found on a XXXX beer can located at the waterhole.
The suspect claims he discarded the beer can when he helped in the search for Kieffen. The suspect also admitted he had owned a red shirt similar in style to one found near the waterhole but that he lost it sometime before.
One of the suspect’s relatives said last week he has an alibi for the day of Kieffen’s death. The relative said the individual was stuck in a remote community on the day of Kieffen’s death and there were witnesses who could back this up. However these witnesses have since died.
In the sentencing remarks for the suspect’s conviction on the unrelated sex assault charges, the court noted that, he confessed to an unrelated sex assault but then said that he himself had been sexually abused by a paedophile. This suspects name has been suppressed by the Coroner.
Community resources report that one of the other suspected paedophile’s identified by the Coroner, remains in the community and is also the subject of other unrelated allegations of sex abuse dating back years.
The initial police investigation into Kieffen’s death
The Coroner in his findings made reference to a number of serious shortcomings associated with the initial police investigation and subsequent handling of the investigation into Kieffen’s death. In an internal review, a copy of which was tendered to the Court during the inquest, the Police Service identified many additional matters that could and should have been done better, including:
Failures concerning security of the crime scene, seizing of exhibits, the thoroughness of the crime scene examination, and forensic testing;
Lack of clarity as to reporting requirements and the line of command;
An irrational focus on substantiating an accidental cause of death as opposed to an objective assessment of the evidence, most notably in relation to the rocks located in the shorts of the young boy which were not adequately explained by the accidental hypothesis;
Inadequate briefings to senior officers and, concomitantly, inadequate review by senior officers;
An “abject failure” to document or record critical decisions;
An “abject failure” by responsible members to comply with the Police General Order concerning the provision of reports to the Coroner. (As noted earlier but worthy of repetition, that this coronial file took 3 years to complete is totally unacceptable); and
Generally, an across-the-board failure to comply with Northern Territory Police policies.
There are two points of serious concern in the shortcomings associated with the initial police investigation into Kieffen’s death identified by the Coroner, both of which have potential racial undercurrents associated with them.
Firstly, “an irrational focus on substantiating an accidental cause of death as opposed to an objective assessment of the evidence, most notably in relation to the rocks located in the shorts of the young boy which were not adequately explained by the accidental hypothesis.” One can only assume based on the evidence that is currently in the public arena and Blak and Black’s own enquiries, that the aforementioned irrational focus on an unsupportable hypothesis came about because the Northern Territory Police Service did not want to devote resources investigating a black death. The probable reasoning being that to white police officers any black death is one less future or current criminal to worry about. One less black spot on an otherwise white future. This type of thinking falls into a category of genocide which I call ‘subtle genocide’. According to this theory, individual actions can be explained away as other than racially motivated. They can be put down to poor management, stress, overwork – whatever – but when the individual incidences are identified and analysed, patterns begin to emerge which point strongly in the direction of deliberate policy – a policy of subtle genocide!
Secondly, “generally, an across-the-board failure to comply with Northern Territory Police policies”. Why? Is it because Aboriginal people don’t deserve the same treatment and respect as white people? How many times has this type of failure by the police been identified in cases that involve ‘white’ children? Is it the unwritten policies of the Northern Territory Police Service that Aboriginal people are merely ‘others’ – black people living around white society, subject to white society’s laws, but sharing none of the benefits normally associated with obedience to the ‘rule of law’? If this is so, then it is a not so subtle form of genocide! These questions need to be asked and answered.
Kings-X Sydney – a very different outcome
While the tragic circumstances surrounding Kieffen’s death point to indifference, or worse deliberate policy by Australia’s police services, to conducting proper investigations when dealing with Aboriginal people as victims, the same can’t be said when they are dealing with Aboriginal people as alleged criminals.
Early Saturday morning (21st April, 2012) six males from Sydney’s western suburbs, all Aboriginal, were in a car that allegedly ran over a 29-year-old woman and hit a pedestrian. Police allege the group were trying to flee after two officers recognised them. Police said the officers shot at the car in a bid to stop it, shooting the 14-year-old driver in the chest and arm and a passenger, 18-year-old Troy Taylor, in the neck.
Video footage taken by a witness and shown by several media outlets over the weekend appeared to show a police officer hitting a passenger Mr Troy Taylor after dragging him out of the car and onto the street. At the time Mr Taylor was dragged from the car and allegedly assaulted by police he was suffering from gunshot wounds to his neck, inflicted when the police began indiscriminately shooting at the car.
The King’s Cross incident has been compared to the case of TJ Hickey, a young Aboriginal boy, who was impaled on a fence and died in 2004 after being followed by police, prompting riots in Redfern.
It’s interesting to see how quick the police are to respond when the alleged offender is Aboriginal and how slow they are to respond when the victim is Aboriginal. It becomes worse when the Aboriginal was a victim of a white hate crime, the difference in treatment becoming more pronounced when the police service tasked with carrying out the investigations is Australia’s own bovver boys in blue – the Australian Federal Police.
Kieffen Raggett and the farce that is ‘The Intervention’
The publically stated rationale for the Howard contrived and the poll-driven Northern Territory National Emergency Response also referred to as ‘the Intervention’, which came on the back of the Little Children are Sacred report – the outcome of a Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse, commissioned by the Northern Territory Government – was to protect Aboriginal children from sexual abuse. The report concluded that sexual abuse of children in Aboriginal communities had reached crisis levels, demanding that it “be designated as an issue of urgent national significance by both the Australian and Northern Territory governments.”
My question to the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments is, “If the benchmark for success is a measure of outcomes achieved against stated objectives, surely the Kieffen Raggett case proves that the intervention has been an abject failure. That being said, what possible reason is there for keeping its provisions in place?” – Sorry, I forgot the whole thing is naught but a veil to hide Australia’s subtle policies of genocide from the glare of the outside world!
It must be said. I wont be silent
I’ve had enough of the hypocrisy;
Please shed the silence with me,
The consequences are all too predictable.