South Australia Police announced yesterday that Waylon Johncock, the cop who brutally stoned a wombat to death, will not face any charges. Nor will he face any internal discipline.
Viral video footage of the sickening incident, published in early October, showed Johncock repeatedly attacking the terrified animal with a rock. During the attack, Johncock laughed and gloated while his unnamed accomplice goaded him on. When it became apparent the wombat had been killed, the demented Johncock raised his arms in victory.
SAPOL commissioner Grant “Travellin’ Man” Stevens, whose career achievements include sightseeing and visiting foreign breweries at taxpayer expense, blathered the usual rhetoric about how distasteful he allegedly found the incident. “I take personal displeasure in seeing any animal distressed, or being killed as the wombat was killed,” claimed Stevens.
South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens doing what bureaucrats do best: Having a good time at taxpayer expense.
Stevens visiting the Guiness factory. Because watching Irish beer being produced is critical to improved policing in South Australia.
“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.”
What actually happened is that SAPOL repeatedly failed to deliver promised updates as it went into damage control.
The fruits of those damage control efforts are now official. Stevens said Johncock would not be charged because he had an “appropriate permit” to hunt wombats for food and his “actions were not inconsistent with traditional hunting practices”.
Ah, SAPOL obfuscation at its best.
SAPOL Avoids the Real Issue … As Usual
Whether Johncock had an “appropriate permit” to hunt wombats for food was never the issue. His indigenous status was made clear in media reports from the outset, and it is well understood that the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 allows an indigenous person to hunt an animal so long as it is used for food or “solely for cultural purposes of Aboriginal origin.”
The real issue was animal cruelty. All bleatings about cultural traditions aside, the reality is that Johncock did not have to kill the wombat in the manner he did. The incident was undeniably cruel, and Johncock’s laughing and gloating evinced a revolting degree of callousness towards the wombat.
While the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 allows indigenous people to hunt for food, the Animal Welfare Act – which makes no exceptions based on race – states that if a person ill treats an animal, and that ill treatment causes the death of the animal, and the person was “reckless about causing” the death of the animal, then they are guilty of an offence – punishable by a maximum fine of $50,000 or imprisonment for up to four years.
Part 3 from the SA Animal Welfare Act 1985
Johncock’s behaviour breached the Animal Welfare Act on all three counts. He ill treated the wombat, that ill treatment caused the wombat’s death, and he was indisputably reckless in causing the death of the animal. He took no steps whatsoever to ensure the wombat died as quickly and painlessly as possible, but instead repeatedly bashed the terrified animal while laughing and celebrating.
Waylon Johncock: The man whose idea of a good time is bashing native Australian fauna to death.
Carrying on like you’re at a frat party while cruelly stoning an animal to death is not upholding a sacred cultural tradition – it’s being a sociopathic asshole.
A number of Aboriginal elders came forward to state as much. Ngarrindjeri elder Major Sumner was among the Aboriginal elders who steadfastly rejected the claim that Johncock’s behaviour was in keeping with indigenous traditions. He said the officer’s cruel actions in stoning the gentle animal were “wrong.”
“We didn’t hunt like that. We still don’t hunt like that,” the 71-year-old said.
Over time, ethnicities of every striping, all around the world, have been convinced or cajoled into abandoning some of their more barbaric habits. If there are segments of any ethnicity or nationality who still believe its A-OK to treat animals in the manner that Johncock did, then it’s high time they were reminded it’s almost 2020 and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable. Period.
Note to Johncock et al: Football is sport. Cruelly killing animals while laughing and gloating is not sport – it’s being a C U Next Tuesday.
The Real Reason Johncock Escaped Penalty
That said, Johncock’s indigenous background is a moot point. The real issue is that he is a member of SAPOL and therefore was never in any danger of being prosecuted.
SAPOL has no love lost for indigenous Australians, and racism is rife at SAPOL. Despite its token appointments and PR statements, the force’s actions speak louder than words.
In 2015, for example, it was revealed a SAPOL constable questioning an Aboriginal man called him a “black cunt”, before saying he would like to tie a hose around his neck, set him on fire and drag him behind the police car “with the lights and sirens on”.
This peurile officer was clearly unfit to work as a law enforcement officer and should have been fired immediately. As both the acting SA ombudsman, Michael Grant, and his predecessor, Sarah Bolt, noted, the unnamed constable was “entirely unsuitable to continue as a member of the police force”.
“I am currently dealing with another complaint from Aboriginal people about the conduct of the same officer, which occurred only a few weeks after the abuse of the Aboriginal man in this case,” Grant said.
But apart from being directed to take a paid six-week break at the police academy and undergo some token “cultural awareness training,” the officer escaped without penalty.
More recently, former SAPOL officer Gabriella Capponi quit the force after enduring constant harassment because her partner was an Aboriginal man. The feeble-minded bigots at SAPOL chose to make Ms Capponi’s private life their business, subjecting her to a stream of snide and racist remarks.
“I’ve had people come up to me in the workplace and say, ‘oh does your mate even work, or does he just steal cars for a living?’” said Ms Capponi.
In October last year, Ms Capponi joined a task force formed to specifically investigate Aboriginal offenders, but resigned in early November after her partner’s ethnicity became a running joke in the office.
“It was a bit of a joke that I was dating him,” she said. “It was like, ‘how funny is it that Gabby is dating an Aboriginal person?’”
“I had someone come in and say to somebody else in front of me and try to sort of whisper it, ‘oh does she get benefits now that they’re living together?’”
“I think that was my last straw, the benefit comment – I said nah, you know what, this is not ok anymore, they’ve got to stop saying this.”
Capponi recently met with her lawyers and confirmed she will pursue a workplace claim against South Australia Police for the racist comments.
So it’s not like SAPOL has some sort of unwavering reverence and respect for indigenous people and their traditions. It clearly doesn’t.
So again, this is not about Johncock’s indigenous status. The real issue is that, as a member of SAPOL, he can get away with just about anything, even when he doesn’t share the same skin pigmentation as his Anglo-Australian comrades.
The only thing that seems to bother SAPOL about this entire incident is that Johncock was dumb enough to post the footage to social media. While Johncock completely escaped penalty for his cruelty (he was not even suspended during the investigation), he was advised about not making the evidence public, with police providing “managerial advice and counselling regarding the implications of social media.”
In other words, SAPOL doesn’t mind its cops acting like assholes, it would just prefer they didn’t record their own idiocy and broadcast it online.
The Johncock incident is merely the latest in a long line of scandals showing SAPOL officers routinely get away with offences that would see ordinary citizens heavily fined or jailed. Let’s take a quick look at two other highly illustrative examples…
SAPOL Allows Police Officers to Unlawfully Bash You: Example 1
On 5 December 2012, SAPOL Constable Matthew Schwarz viciously bashed two unarmed homeless men. As a magistrate later confirmed, the men had done nothing wrong. Schwarz simply became offended when the men refused to talk with him.
But when Schwarz’s SAPOL comrades arrived on the scene, they didn’t arrest him. Instead they arrested the innocent homeless men who had just been assaulted by Schwarz – and charged them with assault!
SAPOL prosecutors knew what really happened, but instead of dropping the charges against the homeless men and charging Schwarz, they did the exact opposite. They threw their full support behind Schwarz and forced the homeless men to stand trial.
After being forced to endure over 2 years of stress and legal maneuverings by the thuggish SAPOL, all charges against both homeless men were dismissed by Magistrate Stefan Metanomski. He found the police had “exceeded their authority” when dealing with the men and that Schwarz acted unlawfully by continuing to pursue the men after they made it clear they did not wish to speak with police. He noted the officer did not reasonably suspect the men of any crime and therefore had no authority to follow them.
Violent and mentally “fragile” SAPOL officer Matthew Schwarz viciously beating two unarmed homeless men.
Along with exonerating the homeless men, Magistrate Metanomski said he found Schwarz’s version of events to be inaccurate and unreliable, finding there was a real possibility the officer was embellishing his story (in plain English: lying) to justify his actions. Even though the incident was caught on camera and widely broadcast, Schwarz still tried to “embellish” his version of events. And as he did so, SAPOL stood loyally behind him.
As it did in response to a second complaint of aggressive misconduct made against Schwarz. This time, a teenage P-Plate driver complained the bully officer had thumped on her car window and threatened her. Despite his unprovoked violence and dishonesty, SAPOL did not terminate or even suspend Schwarz’s employment. The Police Ombudsman called for the Schwarz’s police ID to be revoked in the interests of public safety, but old mate Stevens refused.
The Director of Public Prosecutions’ excuse for not bringing criminal charges against Schwarz was because the aggressive, confrontational officer was allegedly in a “fragile and suicidal state of mind.” Which begged the obvious question: Why was a mentally unstable SAPOL officer allowed to continue carrying a gun and other weapons while circulating among the general public?
SAPOL Allows Police Officers to Unlawfully Bash You: Example 2
In July 2019, SAPOL Senior Constable Ben Higgins was caught red-handed on camera punching a handcuffed man, Clarence Yates, in the face. In an attempt to justify his unlawful assault, Higgins claimed Yates spat on him. Yates admitted spitting, but said he did not aim to hit the police officer. Only one of the two men could be telling the truth, and the video footage shows it was Yates. The footage below shows Yates spitting on the ground at 0:01. He can clearly be seen leaning away from Higgins as he spits. At 0:05, Higgins hits the man, then drags him to the ground with the help of two female officers. Despite his version of events being flatly contradicted by the video footage, Higgins was cleared by SAPOL after an “internal review.”
Stevens admitted it wasn’t “usually” protocol to punch anyone in the face when arresting them. Stevens’ equivocal language suggests there are in fact times when SAPOL considers it perfectly fine for officers to deliver a right hook to the skull of someone who is restrained both by handcuffs and two other officers (and therefore completely defenseless). The incident with Yates was clearly one of those times. In a statement, Stevens said: “A review of the arresting police officer’s actions in this matter was undertaken; and as a result, there will be no further action taken against that officer.”
SAPOL’s Sickening Hypocrisy
Earlier this year, the South Australia Police Association began campaigning for harsher penalties against members of the public who assault police officers. Of course, the Police Association made no similar plea for tougher penalties against SAPOL officers who unlawfully assault members of the public. A well known ruse among SAPOL officers is to provoke an innocent person, then hit him/her with“resisting arrest” and “assaulting a police officer” charges when the startled victim protests at what is transpiring. Confident in their ability to get away with just about anything, a lot of SAPOL officers will also take the opportunity to rough people up when partaking in this scam (to witness an example of SAPOL doing exactly this to an innocent mother in front of her kids, check the video below).
The reality is SAPOL has made it abundantly clear it considers assaults by police officers against unarmed civilians to be fine and dandy, even when those assaults involve sucker punches to handcuffed people or vicious beatings administered to innocent people lying prostrate on the ground.
If SAPOL thinks it’s OK for its officers to unlawfully bash people, what chance does a poor wombat have?