An Indigenous teenager has tragically died after a “collision” with a police car.
Jai Wright, who was only 16 years old, died on Sunday from head injuries after his bike collided with an unmarked police car on Saturday morning.
Jai had just finished year 10 and started an apprenticeship to become an electrician. He was described by his father as bright, eager and hardworking.
“Everyone wanted to be around him,” Lachlan Wright told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“He was funny and quirky.”
“He got the job on a Thursday and started on Monday. He could have had time off, but he was really excited,” Wright said.
The circumstances of the crash are still being investigated. However, Wright said he was told two different versions of events by NSW police.
Another Aboriginal teenager, Jai Wright, killed by Australian authorities. There are no words. These cops are on death hunts: the ‘chase’ is pretence. Two years ago, two Aboriginal boys drowned while being chased by police. How many more? #justiceforjaiwright #justicefortjhickey pic.twitter.com/ccsovyVqCz— Jennine #SaveSheikhJarrah #SaveSilwan (@jennineak) February 20, 2022
“[Officers] said that Jai was riding the motorbike up Henderson Road, he was riding down the bike lane and an unmarked police car, that was travelling in the opposite direction to Jai, pulled in front of him and Jai hit the car,” Wright said, of what he was told after speaking to hospital staff.
Later Wright and Jai’s mother spoke to another senior police officer investigating the incident, who told them that Jai was riding the bike at speed and crashed into a parked car.
“[He said] he was going very fast, and he went over a bump and lost control, went airborne, and ran into the unmarked police car that was parked behind the Uber,” Wright said.
“I said to him, ‘The boss was just down here and told us a completely different story to what you’re telling us now’ … It was really dismissive. All of us were shocked.”
When Wright and Jai’s mother asked if they could see the police notes and footage of the incident, they said police declined.
NSW Police alleged in a statement provided to PEDESTRIAN.TV that Jai was suspected of riding a stolen vehicle.
“Officers attached to Inner West Police Area Command sighted two suspected stolen vehicles – a black Mercedes and blue 2019 Sherco trail bike – near Enmore Road and King Street, Newtown,” the statement read.
“Shortly after, about 7.35am, the same trail bike collided with an unmarked police vehicle at the intersection of Henderson and Mitchell Roads, Alexandria.
“The rider, a 16-year-old boy, was ejected from the bike and suffered serious injuries. He was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics and taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.”
The teenager who was driving the suspected stolen black Mercedes was also 16 years old. NSW Police arrested him and he is due to be charged.
These details are worth noting, considering that in 2016 14-year-old Indigenous teen Elijah Doughty was struck by a ute and killed after the driver suspected him of stealing a bike.
In that instance the driver claimed Elijah swerved in front of him and he was found not guilty of manslaughter, leading to mass protests.
RIP Jai Wright. 16 yrs forever. You lost your young life not far from 2004 death of TJ Hickey. Fck the gungies of the colony❤️???????? pic.twitter.com/EPL9WCLNjG— Barbara McGrady (@BarbsMac2144) February 20, 2022
There were similar circumstances surrounding the 2004 death of Indigenous teenager TJ Hickey, who died in a bike crash after he was chased by NSW police in Sydney.
NSW Police told Wright that there was no pursuit regarding Jai’s death, but refused to provide further details to SMH as the incident is part of a critical accident investigation.
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