Cop Who Laughed While Stoning Wombat To Death Will Not Be Charged
A South Australian police officer who laughed while stoning a wombat to death on camera will not be charged, after an inquiry found his actions were ‘not inconsistent with traditional Indigenous practices’.
The disturbing footage, which emerged in October, shows Senior Community Constable Waylon Johncock throwing huge rocks at the defenceless animal, sparking anger among animal lovers on social media around the world.
While thousands of people called for Johncock to be charged with animal abuse over the incident, which took place in Gawler Ranges, east of Ceduna, the off-duty officer was defended by an Indigenous leader who claimed he did ‘nothing wrong’.
Wirangu-Kokatha Aboriginal elder Jack Johncock, based in Port Lincoln, told ABC throwing rocks at wombats was ‘one of many methods’ local Aboriginal people used to kill wombats for food.
It’s easy for people to sit back and judge people. This has been part of our culture and the way we’ve gone about it for thousands of years.
For the people of the west coast of South Australia, the wombat is a big part of their diet and they’ll get wombat any way they can.
At the time, Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens confirmed the man was an off-duty officer and condemned Johncock’s actions, calling them ‘totally abhorrent and unacceptable’.
But, following an internal investigation and advice from the Department of Public Prosecutions, Stevens revealed today (December 6) that Johncock will not be charged.
As per 7News, Stevens said:
The investigators have ascertained that as a traditional Aboriginal man, the Senior Community Constable has an appropriate permit to hunt wombats for food.
Whilst distressing to many who viewed the video, it has been established the Senior Community Constable’s actions were not inconsistent with traditional hunting practices.
Stevens went on to say that a huge number of people had seen the video in a short period of time, prompting the force to receive an unprecedented number of calls, emails and social media comments from people demanding to see some action.
The video is confronting for many people, I found it confronting. I stand by my reaction to the treatment of the wombat.
I still find some of the content of the video disturbing – I take personal displeasure in seeing any animal distressed, or being killed as the wombat was killed.
I know many shared in my shock and dismay. I gave a public undertaking there would be a robust and thorough investigation, and that I would provide advice regarding the outcome of that investigation.
As a result, a criminal investigation ran in parallel to an internal disciplinary investigation into the actions of the Senior Community Constable as portrayed in the video.
I asked investigators to bring together all available information to assess if criminal charges should be laid.
Investigators deemed that Johncock, as a traditional Aboriginal man, was not behaving inconsistently with traditional practices. Therefore, he will remain on duty.
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