Indigenous News story.

Within the heart of the Oxley region, a storm of racial unrest brews beneath the surface. And at the epicenter of this storm stands Superintendent Bruce Grassick, the steward of law and order, at the helm of Oxley Police.

Under his watch, the unsettling murmurs of racial discrimination and police brutality have crescendoed into a deafening roar, echoing across the vast expanses of Australia, and nestling within the heart of Gunnedah.

The bitter wind of alleged racism swept through the streets of Gunnedah when a young Indigenous lad, filled with the youthful joy of acquiring a new push bike, was accosted by the custodians of law, the Oxley Police (Gunnedah Police Station).

And the alleged questions hurled at him, implicating the innocent gleam of pride in his eyes as a veil for theft, were not mere words but daggers that tore through the fabric of racial equality, exposing the festering wounds of discrimination that lie beneath. Because in that moment, as the young lad grappled with the humiliation, the age-old specter of racial prejudice under Superintendent Grassick’s watch reared its ugly head.

“My Grandson picked up his new push bike from turners bike shop on Thursday. He paid it off over 2 months with his pay from his permanent job. Well he was down town and the coppers pulled him up about no helmet which is fair enough but they started saying did he pinch it. He was upset about how he was treated so he rang me I told him just give them your DOB name and address. I could hear how they were treating him so I had a few words to say then the male cop snatched the phone ° out of his hand. Said can I sit down on the bench to eat his maccas and the female cop said sit in the gutter. He feels like they only pulled him up was because he is Aboriginal. Can’t a 16 year old have a real nice bike. That he paid for out of his pay”

Terry Moore

And it’s not an isolated ripple in a calm pond.

The narrative reverberates through the annals of numerous accounts of police brutality and racial discrimination. In Gunnedah and beyond, the tales of unjustified arrests and racial profiling are as common as they are disheartening.

The incident recounted by Terry Moore is a mere glimpse into the wider canvas of racial disparities that color the interactions between the Indigenous community and the police force.

For example, in October 2013, Leon Petrou, a Gumbaynggirr man and employee of the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association, experienced a harrowing ordeal at the hands of Queensland police officers when he was subjected to the agonising jolt of a taser, the searing burn of capsicum spray, and physical assault, in a scenario that sadly resonates with many Aboriginal individuals nationwide.

And the haunting shrieks of an Indigenous teenager enduring a ruthless officer’s assault by the NSW Police, coupled with the silent yet profound tales of those lost to fatal police shootings, sketch a somber image of a community besieged.

*Children at the mission in 1920, six years before Police constables Graham St Jack and Denis Regan led the Forrest River massacre.

The stories of brutality and discrimination are more than just anecdotal evidence; they are a glaring indictment of the system that continues to fail the Indigenous community.

And he deep-seated racial biases aren’t just a stain on the reputation of Police; they are a stark reminder of the lingering ghosts of Australia’s colonial past.

Superintendent Bruce Grassick

Alleged Racism at Oxley Police: Superintendent Bruce Grassick Dilemma
Picture by Gareth Gardner

Superintendent Grassick’s dilemma is not just an administrative quandary.

It’s a moral and societal conundrum that reflects the systemic quagmire of racism that Australia finds itself ensnared in. And as the allegations of racism and discrimination continue to pile up at the doorstep of Oxley Police, the silence of justice reverberates through the hollow halls of equality.

The time for reflection is over.

The onus now lies on the shoulders of Superintendent Grassick, and indeed the wider Australian society, to address and redress the grievances of the Indigenous community.

Because without a sincere effort to confront and eradicate the tendrils of racism that reach into every facet of the justice system, the dream of a harmonious Gunnedah, and a unified Australia, will remain just that – a dream.

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