The South Australian police officer filmed stoning a wombat to death has explained his actions.
Video of the incident earlier this year caused outrage as it showed off-duty Senior Community Constable Waylon Johncock following a wombat along a dirt road while throwing rocks at it as he is cheered on by a friend in a car.
Last week, SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said in a statement while the video is “confronting” and “disturbing” the officer would not face charges.
In a statement to NITV, Constable Johncock said it was never his intention to cause distress.
The officer added he could understand “such raw content” could be considered offensive to anyone who is unfamiliar with the hunting practices of the Kokotha/Wirangu family to which he is a part of.
“I completely agree with our traditional elders that the footage should have never been posted on social media because it has given the outside world a look into our traditional ways of living and for that I am deeply sorry,” Constable Johncock told NITV.
“At the time I was not aware the footage would be shared on social media or that it would be altered in such a way to try dishonour my occupation, name, family or culture as these practices are a normal way of life for us Aboriginal people here on the Far West Coast.”
He added it was within his “cultural right” to kill the wombat adding the marsupial was cleaned, cut up and shared with others.
Constable Johncock claims he and his family suffered death threats as a result of the video and discouraged people to “refuse to participate in any hatred conversations online”.
Commissioner Stevens said last week the officer in the video also has an “appropriate permit” to hunt wombats for food and his “actions were not inconsistent with traditional hunting practices”.
“It is clear from the outpouring of emotions that some may question the outcome of this investigation. I can reassure everyone that the most thorough of investigations has been undertaken in this matter,” Commissioner Stevens said.
”The Senior Community Constable is well regarded and respected by his colleagues, peers, supervisors, managers and the local community in which he serves. I have confidence in his abilities to perform his current role as a Community Constable.”
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