More than 150 community members marched down the main street of the western New South Wales town of Cowra to demand justice for Dennis “DJ” Doolan, who was shot in the back by local police two months ago. Doolan remains in custody in Bathurst jail.
The peaceful protesters, with banners and flags, demanded justice for all Aboriginal deaths in custody as they made their way to Squire Park.
Doolan’s relative Les Coe thanked the community for their support and said he hoped this show of solidarity would unite the community beyond Cowra.
DJ’s mother Roddina Doolan said her son is not doing “too well ... [He’s] hanging in as best he can at the moment.”
DJ’s brother Desi Doolan told the crowd the police had said, “He’ll be alright, he’ll be okay,” on the day of the shooting.
But, Desi said, he’s “got news for that copper. He’s not going to be okay. Internal injuries are with him for the rest of his life. Physically and mentally he’s not the same man I picked up from jail two months ago.”
Bill Ryan, a 94-year-old World War II veteran, drove with his son from Sydney to join the protest. “I’ve realised throughout my life, when there’s something wrong, you’ve got to do something about it,” he said.
“I realise the people up here haven’t been getting justice from the justice system. So I get great comfort when I come to these things to see people taking action.”