Western Australia: Indigenous boys drown trying to escape police


Western Australia: Indigenous boys drown trying to escape police

Richard Phillips

19 September 2018

Over 500 people came together on the banks of the Swan River in Perth, the Western Australian state capital, last Saturday afternoon to mourn the death of Chris Drage, 16, and Trisjack Simpson, 17, two Aboriginal boys who drowned on September 10, following a police pursuit. Family and relatives from across the state laid flowers, photographs and messages for the teenagers against a tree on the river bank.

Drage, Simpson and three other teenagers were being chased on foot after a burglary was reported in the Maylands Peninsula area on the river. According to media reports, a local resident contacted police, alleging that the group were “jumping the fences” of homes along the river.

Police, including members of the Tactical Response Group, were pursuing the teenagers in the area, which is surrounded by the river on three sides, when four of them jumped into the water in an attempt to escape.

Two of the five boys were taken into police custody but Drage and Trisjack disappeared underwater as they tried to cross the river. Their bodies were eventually recovered by police divers. The family of a fifth boy later told the police that he had survived the chase. None of the boys had been charged with any offences.

The mainstream media offered the usual crocodile tears to the traumatised families while Western Australian (WA) police commissioner Chris Dawson described the deaths “as nothing short of tragedy.”

Arthur Ninyette, Trisjack Simpson’s grandfather, told Nine News that he wanted answers from the WA police commissioner. The terrified teenagers, he said, were “unarmed, scared and not dangerous.”

The police did not know “whether the boys could swim or not,…

Read more