West Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson will talk to a constable about his future employment after he was acquitted of murdering an Indigenous woman.
The officer was found not guilty of murder or the lesser charge of manslaughter over the shooting death of the 29-year-old woman in the WA Supreme Court on Friday.
The accused testified he had acted in self-defence, claiming the woman, known as JC, had turned towards him and raised the knife before he pulled the trigger.
Mr Dawson says he will soon talk to the officer about his future in the WA police force, but it’s too soon right now.
“I’m going to talk to him, look it’s only several days since that trial has now acquitted him, and so he’s been found not guilty of the charges that were put before the court,” the commissioner said on Sunday.
“The court has concluded that matter. I’ll talk to him now about his future.”
Emotions ran high outside the court on Friday as JC’s loved ones, including her foster mother Anne Jones, expressed their devastation at the verdict.
JC, a mother-of-one, had experienced significant mental health and drug problems and recently been released from prison when she was shot dead from close range while surrounded by police vehicles in Geraldton.
Mr Dawson asked Indigenous community leaders to ensure any protests related to the case remained non-violent.
“Of course we live in a democratic society, but we want people to do this in a peaceful way,” he said.
“If you are emotive about this that’s understandable, but at the same time we just want people to work their way through these sort of processes.”
Police and Aboriginal people had an ongoing engagement, Mr Dawson said, and Indigenous community members had pleasingly not done anything unlawful since Friday’s verdict.
“We know people are hurting, we know emotions are running high, let’s just keep the peace.”