Detective Superintendent Kerry Johson, AKA the man in charge of Queensland Police Service’s First Nations unit, is under investigation after accusations of racism. SIGH.
According to Guardian Australia, Kerry Johnson was accused of racism by a black police officer who worked in the First Nations unit which he heads. She claimed he allegedly blocked her promotion on racial grounds because he didn’t want to deal with the “optics” of replacing her with a white man.
The documents seen by the publication also contained allegations he was disrespectful to community members at an Indigenous funeral and that he laughed at a joke about not being “black enough” to lead the unit.
BTW, it’s kinda crucial to note here that Kerry Johnson does not identify as a First Nations person (but he does have some Aboriginal heritage).
According to Guardian Australia, Johnson says he is white — yet he leads a First Nations unit and is actively used as proof of multicultural leadership.
All of this gets even messier when you look at the context: earlier this week, recordings of QPS officers making vile jokes and comments about killing, eradicating or “outbreeding” Aboriginal people, Muslims and African immigrants were leaked to the public and obviously sparked some serious concerns about the work culture in the force.
In response to this, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll tried to spotlight all the alleged good work Johnson does within the First Nations And Multicultural Affairs unit and praised him publicly on Tuesday.
Per Guardian Australia, Carroll told reporters she chose Johnson herself to run the unit because he would “understand the history and the issues” related to First Nations people, and the publication reported she used him as proof QPS has First Nations officers in its upper ranks (which straight up isn’t true, no officers in the upper rank identify as First Nations).
It’s a fkn messy game of identity politics which tokenises a heritage Johnson doesn’t even claim in order to feign some kind of racial relevance or cultural sensitivity.
One QPS officer told Guardian Australia: “They’re using a white man who admits he doesn’t identify as Aboriginal to tick a black box.” Fkn yikes.
“Qld police said they took him to the local watch house and put him in a holding cell. He was found “unresponsive in his cell” a short time later.”
How does this happen?
Don’t believe ANYTHING in a Qld Police Press Release. “he was found” – how often was he checked? https://t.co/CSuZgSh0et
— Amy McQuire (@amymcquire) November 11, 2022
A Queensland police spokesperson told Guardian Australia that Carroll didn’t know about the racism investigation until the publication asked her about it, which itself is a red flag.
All of this news comes off the back of an even spicier report on Queensland police’s culture which digs into Katarina Carroll’s failure to address issues of sexism, racism and sexual harassment within the Queensland Police Service, plus her failure to prioritise domestic violence allegations in the force.
The report was received by the government on Monday and is being considered by cabinet. It’s full contents won’t be revealed until probably next week, but spoiler alert: it looks fkn bad.
It involves allegations that multiple female officers had allegedly been sexually assaulted, harassed, threatened and bullied by their colleagues.
Just a month ago, Guardian Australia reported a QPS officer who called his colleague a “towelhead” and “Osama” was promoted. Another officer called his female boss a “cunt” who he was going to “punch” when she didn’t give him the promotional opportunity he wanted.
Misogyny and racism in Queensland Police Service? It’s more likely than you think.
Carroll, for her part, reckons she is the woman for the job and hopes to keep her position.
“I actually believe I’m the person to take this organisation forward,” she said on Tuesday.
“Our reform takes, in the best environment, anywhere from three to five years, just get the system – the processes, the training, the education – in place.
“I do believe I’m in the right position … I have had extensive experience in reform, and I have commenced extensive reform, and it is incredibly important to take that forward.”
She also referred to herself as the “CEO” of QPS, which is fucken weird in its own right and says a lot about her perception of the job.
Of course, there are those that will claim holding Carroll to account for the rampant bigotry and violence in the state’s police force is actually sexist because, as the first woman police commissioner for QPS, she’s held to a higher standard than her male counterparts.
To those claims I would like to say this: heading a deeply racist and misogynistic organisation — which began as a force to oppress Aboriginal people specifically — with a white woman is not the feminist move y’all think it is.
This week in the colony: systemic abuse of Blak kids revealed at the Banksia Hill child prison, a 13 yr old was mauled by a police dog and a QLD superintendent is being investigated for alleged racism. The war that started in 1788 continues through systemic racism. Treaty = peace
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) November 16, 2022
Policing organisations in so-called Australia were conceived to uphold the enslavement of First Nations people and protect white-controlled land from its rightful traditional owners. Who did y’all think police are supposed to serve and protect? It’s unsurprising that anti-immigrant and First Nations rhetoric remains deeply embedded into its force today.
How about we just abolish it as a whole, yeah?
ACAB is becoming a less controversial phrase by the day.