Cop arrested over woman’s fatal shooting
THE family of a troubled Aboriginal woman who was shot dead in Western Australia's Mid West region last year have expressed relief after a police officer was arrested.
Joyce Clarke, 29, was allegedly armed with a knife when a constable shot her on September 17 on a residential street in Karloo, Geraldton.
The mother-of-one had mental health problems and had only recently been released from prison.
On Thursday, police said an officer had been arrested as a suspect but no charges had been laid.
"Members of Ms Clarke's family have been advised of this morning's developments, as have WA Police Force staff," a spokesman said.
Family and supporters have demanded to know why a Taser was not used on Ms Clarke instead of a gun, and rallies were held last year calling for justice. National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project director Megan Krakouer told AAP she had been in contact with Ms Clarke's adoptive mother Anne Jones, who took care of her from the age of five months.
"She has conducted herself with so much dignity," Ms Krakouer said. "There's a sense of relief. She is seeking that closure, she is seeking that justice.
"We're glad that steps have been taken to bring about justice for Joyce and we'll be watching with great interest."
NSPTRP national co-ordinator Gerry Georgatos said the group had been supporting 31 family members since Ms Joyce's "harrowed, tragic death".
"If an officer is charged for a police custodial death, it will be only the second time in WA history," he told AAP.
Mr Georgatos said five officers were charged over the 1983 death of John Pat, 16, in Roebourne but they were acquitted.
The royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody was held a few years later.
WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said at the time of Ms Joyce's death there were more than 20 witnesses, and vowed there would not be any "cover-up or skimming over facts".
Police have fast-tracked the rollout of body-worn cameras for officers in the area.