Joyce Clarke died after being shot by police in Western Australia

Joyce Clarke, a 29 year old Indigenous woman, died after being shot by police in Western Australia

Joyce Clarke
On Tuesday evening, a 29 year old woman, Joyce Clarke, was shot by police on a residential street in the regional town of Geraldton, Western Australia. She died shortly after being taken by ambulance to hospital.

“During an incident at the address, an officer discharged their firearm causing a woman to receive a gunshot wound,” Western Australian police said in a statement.

Her death was only confirmed by police on Wednesday morning.

Police were responding to a call at a house in the suburb of Karloo and it’s reported that Clarke, a Yamatiji mother, was armed with a knife.

One witness says he saw two police cars drive alongside her. Another witness told 10 Daily that she came running out and saw “eight police on the ground all around her”.

Fairfax Media reports that Clarke’s foster mother, Anne Jones, was struggling to get a clear explanation from police about what actually took place before and after the shooting.

“All they told me was there were five officers there. They should have Tasered her, that one shouldn’t have shot her,” she said. “She was under mental health, so why do that, why did he do that?”

The WA Police Union President, Harry Arnott called the shooting a “tragic incident” and said “Our thoughts go out to the police officers involved and their families in this terrible circumstance.”

Joyce had only recently been released from prison.

Major Crimes has travelled to Geraldton to investigate the shooting and the Police Internal Affairs Unit will also conduct its own inquiry, which is standard protocol.

Social media videos show about 100 residents currently protesting outside of the Geraldton police station, calling Clarke’s death a murder and demanding that police be removed from investigating themselves.

Clarke’s death is the third fatal police shooting in Western Australia in the past 12 months.

It is not the first time the Geraldton community has encountered a sudden death at the hands of police. A 22 year old Yamatji woman known as Ms Dhu grew up in the town, and died in police custody over unpaid fines in Port Hedland in 2014. The coroner at the inquiry into her death said the treatment she was subjected to was “inhumane” and “profoundly disturbing.”

Communities are reeling from Joyce’s death, with lifelong friend Anita Farrell describing her as a beautiful girl: “she had her moments, but so does everyone else.”

Among her friends, family, and community, Joyce leaves behind a seven year old child.

Stay Smart! Get Savvy!

Get Women's Agenda in your inbox