A photo of a young woman trying to keep the peace during riots over the death of a 14-year-old indigenous boy has gone viral.
Hayley Garlett is a cousin of Elijah Doughty, who was found dead in bushland near Kargoorlie-Boulder on Monday according to The Australian.
It is understood that he died following a crash between a ute and a motorcycle.
Yesterday scenes of violence erupted outside Kargoolie Courthouse as more than 300 people shattered courthouse windows and threw stones. Many people were outraged that the 55-year-old man arrested over the death had been charged with manslaughter rather than a more serious charge.
Today, police have told the ABC that the charges may yet be upgraded.
"The manslaughter charge is based on the evidence that we have available at this point in time, but with all these type of investigations there's a lot of ... investigative actions that still have to be undertaken, such as a full examination of the vehicles, re-examination and construction of the scene, so there is a chance this could still be elevated," said Acting Commander Darryl Gaunt.
Hayley told The Australian that she went to the courthouse to show love and support for Elijah and when violence began it was “really, really scary”.
“I was thinking this is not what we came here for,” she told The Australian. “I was thinking that it needed to stop. I’m upset about what happened yesterday. We didn’t want Elijah to be known as the kid who caused a riot.
“We want everyone to remember him as a kid that we knew, a great kid who loved motorbikes [and] football. He loved this place, Kalgoorlie, we all grew up in this place”.
Attorney-General Michael Mischin condemned the riots, telling the ABC that “lynch-mob justice” was unacceptable. Police have also warned that racist social media posts around the incident will be dealt with by police, and that anyone writing inflammatory, racist remarks on social media should expect a visit from the police.