3 April, 2023
Footage reveals weapon in hand
FOOTAGE showing Aubrey Donahue (pictured) did have a knife at the time he was shot by specialist police has been shown to the family, according to media reports over the weekend.
The Sunday Mail reported that footage recorded on body cameras by negotiators had captured Mr Donahue, 27, holding a knife, and the family was also able to listen to audio of the incident.
Now the family have seen the footage, police are hoping escalating tension within the community will subside. Since the shooting on 25 March, suggestions were being made that Mr Donahue did not have a weapon at the time he was shot and, instead, was trying to give himself up.
The anger about the shooting spread to as far away as Brisbane, with speakers at a vigil on Thursday night in St Georges Square strongly criticising police actions and calling for “Justice for Aubrey”.
But revelations late last week that specialist officers were not wearing body cams did spark an immediate review as to whether this should change.
A police spokesperson con-firmed that other officers in attendance were wearing body cameras but not SERT officers.
“All other available body worn cameras (BWC) will be reviewed as part of the investigation,” the spokesperson said.
At Thursday night’s vigil, Mr Donahue’s uncle Grayson Healey said once the family found out about the shooting, “our hearts broke”.
“We were filled with emotions – anger, sadness, everything you could imagine,” he told the crowd.
“No one expects to lose a loved one in any circumstances, but when you hear and see how the way he passed, it’s far from the truth and we never find the truth.”
On Thursday, Queensland Police Regional Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Wheeler said the issue had now prompted a review of whether specialist police should wear body cameras.
“We’re reviewing those arrangements at the moment and no doubt all of that will form part of the coronial inquest and the coroner will undoubtedly make potentially some findings on why that was,” he said.
“For practicality reasons, officers do not wear body cameras. So, in terms of specialist police, we’re reviewing those arrangements now.”
The Acting Deputy Commissioner said police would act immediately to review what had happened and did not have to wait until the coronial inquiry was completed.
“In light of recent events, we always review matters when they occur, when we have a serious incident, those matters do get reviewed and we’re now reviewing the arrangements in terms of body worn cameras,” he said.
“We don’t have to wait for a coronial finding because we know that can take time – when we have a serious incident, we review it immediately and we can make changes prior to any coronial inquest finding and of course, we will always work with the coroner and abide by the findings that come out of any coronial request but we don’t necessarily have to wait until that occurs.”
A police spokesperson also confirmed why specialist police were called in.
“Preliminary investigations indicate that a female person was screaming for help, causing the police to immediately respond and the man presented a knife in close proximity to officers resulting in the man being shot by specialist police,” the spokesperson said.
The matter is being investigated by the Queensland Police Service Ethical Standards Command on behalf of the State Coroner, and subject to oversight by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
At the conclusion of that investigation, a report will be prepared and forwarded to the Officer of the State Coroner for consideration.
Meanwhile, Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin has asked that community members continue to respect one another during what she described as a “very difficult time”.
“Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family and our community during this devastating time,” she said.
“We have respected the family’s wishes for privacy, and we are offering any support we can.”