Australian Cop Speaks Out After Avoiding Charges Over Stoning Wombat
An Australian police officer has broken his silence after he avoided charges for stoning a wombat.
Video footage of the shocking incident went viral around the world, which showed Senior Community Constable Waylon Johncock abusing a wombat in the Gawler Ranges, east of Ceduna in South Australia. As the wombat tried to scurry off, he gave chase, and eventually killed the animal.
In the background his friend can be heard saying: "Yeah! You did it! First man I've ever seen kill a wombat on foot, bro."
Last week, police announced that Johncock will not face any criminal charges or disciplinary action over the incident.
They added that he will be given 'managerial advice and counselling regarding the implications of social media'.
Johncock has now spoken out and defended his actions.
In a letter addressed to the Far West Coast Aboriginal Community released by NITV, the Aboriginal cop spoke of his 'cultural right to take the life of the wombat'.
He said: "Born on the West Coast of South Australia into a proud Kokotha/Wirangu family, I was introduced to hunting Native tucker at a very young age.
"The knowledge and skills I have gained over the years to understand our land and effectively hunt native animals independently I will pass onto my children.
"In relation to the wombat matter, it was never my intention to cause anyone distress. Looking back, however, I can now clearly see how such raw content can be offensive to anyone who is unfamiliar with our Traditional hunting practices.
"It was never my intention to cause anyone distress.
"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.
"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.
"As you are all aware I was in my religious capacity and was within my cultural right to take the life of the wombat and that it was cleaned, passed onto family and was then cut up and shared out amongst multiple other families."
He added that he has received threats against his life since the video did the rounds on social media.
The decision not to press charges against him outraged people last week and the anger went even deeper when South Australia Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said Johncock will remain on duty in his current role.
Featured Image Credit: Wombat Awareness Organisation