‘We are not racist’: Police chief fires back at protesters
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says she is "really upset" at protesters labelling her troops racist, insisting investigators have been "open and transparent" about the death of indigenous woman Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo in custody.
Ms Fisher-Tilberoo was found dead in her cell in the Brisbane city watch-house on September 10, with an autopsy finding she had died suddenly from a brain aneurysm.
Her death sparked a series of protests, including one last night where several hundred protesters marched to police headquarters on Roma St.
Once there, they spray painted "Black lives matter" and "Justice for Aunty Sherry Tilberoo" on the road.
The group held a candlelight vigil for Ms Fisher-Tilberoo, after chanting "How do you spell racist? QPS".
An early protest saw people mark police headquarters with red handprints and write the word "murder" on the building.
"I am really upset about that because we've done the right thing all along," Ms Carroll said.
"We've been extraordinarily open and transparent about this investigation, like we should be and always are.
"Sadly she did pass away. Sadly it was natural causes.
"But we are in no way racist."
The Commissioner said police have a very good relationship with the protest group and believed there was a "select few" claiming there was racism within the QPS.
"It's definitely concerning because we want to have a very good relationship (with Queensland's indigenous community)," she said.
"We have a lot of indigenous people who work in our organisation - they're police officers, they're police liaison officers.
"It is concerning but we do a lot to make sure the relationship works. They are part of our community and they are part of us.
"We are very proud of the things that we have achieved together."
She said the investigation into Ms Fisher-Tilberoo's death would be overseen by the CCC and independently looked at by the Coroner.
"So it's automatically overviewed at a number of levels and then it ultimately ends up with the coroner," she said.
"So if the coroner has any concerns about that, obviously they can make other referrals.
"But there's always external oversight."
Ms Carroll has also asked for calm among Brisbane's African community and warned police would act swiftly if there was any further violence.
"The African community and leaders have been excellent working with us through these difficult issues," she said.
"We don't want to see this situation escalate.
"So that's why the action has been quite swift. If it happens again it will be just as swift.
"We need people to settle, to calm down, work with us, and (for) the community to also work together."
Originally published as 'We are not racist': Police chief fires back at protesters