Have Victoria Police lost the plot, or do they now turn a blind eye to the threat of manslaughter?
Another Australian election and political leadership is nowhere to be seen
By Heath Ryan
Saturday January 26 (Australia Day) at 9:50 am
A woman riding a bicycle in Melbourne is seen keying a parked Mercedes shortly after a female cyclist approached that Mercedes’ driver about her driving.
Wednesday 24 April at 1:43 pm
Victoria Police post the keying story with a photo of a woman wearing a helmet on their “Eyewatch - Stonnington Police Service Area” Facebook page asking people to contact Crime Stoppers.
Thursday April 25 (ANZAC Day) at 12:30 pm
In Melbourne a day later, former professional cyclist Damion Drapac - son of Michael Drapac, founder of Drapac Cycling and sponsor of Drapac-Cannondale pro cycling team - is struck from behind and killed while riding his bicycle in broad daylight.
Thursday April 25 (ANZAC Day) at 2:00 pm
Online troll Nathan Barrows makes the following threat on that same Victoria Police Facebook page against the woman police want to speak to in connection with the keying incidence: “Need to scratch a line around her head with a blade, bloody road toad.”
Friday April 26 at 11:00 am
The President of the Australian Cycle Alliance, Edward Hore, speaks with Victoria Police Sergeant Sheppard. He explains how online hate against cyclists contributes to some motorist thinking their lack of humanity is both shared and socially acceptable, and this can embolden these motorists to act aggressively when driving near cyclists.
Sargeant Sheppard says she is aware using a carriage service to threaten someone is a crime. [It is an offence to use a carriage service to threaten to cause serious harm to a person. It is not necessary to prove the person receiving the threat feared it would be carried out. The maximum penalty is seven years. (s474.15, 1995)]
Sargeant Sheppard says Nathan Burrows is just keyboard warrior and that she will take no action.
Friday April 26 at 8:00 pm
The offensive post is still online. While a Victoria Police post about safe motorcycling at Easter has 0 comments and 0 Facebook shares, and a post about ignoring your phone while driving has 1 Facebook share, there are 106 comments and 123 shares on the keying post and the bike hate is still expanding its reach.
Other posts read: “prick cyclists”, “cyclists are a plague”, “make these morons identifiable”, “what a dog”, “cyclist Muppet”, “bird brain”, “Lycra idiots”, “out on bail”, and “got a head like a smashed mango”.
But the most dangerous comment has to be by Tom Achermann, who went to both Scotch College and Monash University: “I would literally commit manslaughter if this happened.”
That sounds like a death threat which carries a ten-year maximum jail sentence … if Victoria Police actually carried about protecting the lives of cyclists.
Are our police protecting us enough? Or are they also facilitating hate against vulnerable road users?
It is time for real leadership before more innocent people lose their lives.
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