Faced with a man twice her size, a lone constable, Nicola Cotton, identified this person a a man wanted for an alleged rape. When she proceeded to arrest the man, he became violent and resisted. At that point, Nicola had lost. She radioed for back up, as she was supposed to, but before help could come, she was shot by her own service pistol 15 times, killing her. Her killer then waited for back up to arrive, and still holding the gun, surrendered to arrest.
Nicola had nothing to do with the Cronulla riots, but in a real sense, the Cronulla riots have everything to do with Nicola. Racial tension had been brewing along the Sydney beaches for many years. The police were not wanted as security for the beaches by the local council. When a security scare occurred, and some life guards were injured, racial tension spilled. The government refused to close the bars fueling the worst of the loutish behavior. Then the government decided to use police to quell the resulting riots.
Racist rapes: Finally the truth comes out
So now we know the facts, straight from the Supreme Court, that a group of Lebanese Muslim gang rapists from south-western Sydney hunted their victims on the basis of their ethnicity and subjected them to hours of degrading, dehumanising torture. The young women, and girls as young as 14, were "sluts" and "Aussie pigs", the rapists said. So now that some of the perpetrators are in jail, will those people who cried racism and media "sensationalism" hang their heads in shame? Hardly.
The journalists, academics, legal brains and politicians who tried to claim last August that the gang rapes of south-western Sydney were just a run-of-the-mill police blotter story being beaten up by racists, scaremongers and political opportunists don't ever want to acknowledge the truth about that ugly episode in Australian history. They don't want to acknowledge the fear and tension that ran through a part of Sydney they rarely visit and can never understand.
2005 Cronulla riots
The 2005 Cronulla riots were a series of racially motivated mob confrontations which originated in and around Cronulla, a beachfront suburb of Sydney, New South Wales. Soon after the riot, ethnically motivated violent incidents occurred in several other Sydney suburbs.
On Sunday, 11 December 2005, approximately 5000 people gathered to protest against recently reported incidents of assaults and intimidatory behaviour by groups of non-locals, most of whom were identified in earlier media reports as Middle Eastern youths from the suburbs of Western Sydney. The crowd assembled following a series of earlier confrontations, and an assault on three off-duty lifesavers which took place the previous weekend. The crowd initially assembled without incident, but violence broke out after a large segment of the mostly white Australian crowd chased a man of Middle Eastern appearance into a hotel and other youths of Middle Eastern appearance were assaulted on a train.
The following nights saw several retaliatory violent assaults in the communities near Cronulla and Maroubra, large gatherings of protesters around western Sydney, and an unprecedented police lock-down of Sydney beaches and surrounding areas, between Wollongong and Newcastle.
Retaliatory violence in Sydney's south
December 12, 2005
A day of racially motivated violence at Cronulla has turned into a night of retaliation along Sydney's southern beaches.
A 23-year-old man was with friends when he was stabbed in the back outside a Woolooware golf club, police said.
After the riots: city's map of racism
By Tony Stephens and AAP
December 26, 2005
RESIDENTS of Mosman and Woollahra have joined those in the Sutherland Shire as among the Sydney people least tolerant of cultural diversity and multicultural values, a map of the city's racial attitudes reveals.
Two weeks after the Cronulla race riots, tens of thousands of people returned to Sydney's beaches for Christmas Day, while church leaders called on Australians to be tolerant and to take responsibility for the violence in the beach suburbs.
On the beach
Why the recent riots in Australia should surprise no one
By Yvonne Abraham | December 25, 2005
FOR THOSE whose image of Australia involves alabaster-skinned actresses, braying reptile-handlers, and sun-soaked hedonism, recent news from the Antipodes has been profoundly jarring.
After two Anglo-Australian lifeguards were assaulted by a group of Lebanese-Australian men on Sydney's Cronulla Beach earlier this month, some 5,000 young Anglo-Australians descended on the sands, attacking anybody who looked Middle Eastern. Revenge followed: Convoys of Lebanese men rampaged through Cronulla with baseball bats, smashing windshields and storefronts. Lebanese-looking men were set upon in other Australian cities. Politicians shut down the beaches and enacted a series of strict laws to quell the unrest. Amazingly, no one was killed, but police were still seizing weapons caches this week.
When most Americans think of Australia, this is not the kind of thing that leaps to mind. But to those of us who grew up there, and grew up Lebanese, the dynamic was depressingly familiar. The riots were but the latest, and most violent, manifestation of tensions between ''Aussies" and ''Lebs" that have simmered for years.
Part of the animus can be explained by familiar factors. Sept. 11 and the terrorist attacks in Bali and London have bred anti-Arab, anti-Muslim sentiment. And as in France, young Muslim men in Sydney's heavily Lebanese west and southwest, with disproportionately high unemployment and poverty rates, are disaffected. Additionally, Lebanese gangs have committed several violent, high-profile crimes in recent years, including a series of horrific rapes, feeding stereotypes and ill will.
But another part of the tension is peculiarly Australian. Despite its reputation for welcoming immigrants-30 percent of Sydney's current population is foreign-born-Australia can be a difficult place to be one. Especially if you're Lebanese. And especially lately. Over the past 10 years, Prime Minister John Howard's Liberal-National coalition government has taken a harder official line against immigrants in a quest for more conservative votes. Further widening the divisions between Lebanese and Anglo-Australians, many Lebanese youth live in more insular communities than the generations that preceded them. They are also less willing to behave like guests in somebody else's country.
Tall tales from a whistleblowing ex-cop
By Stephen Gibbs
February 20, 2006
IT HAS become a celebrated story, told by the whistleblowing former policeman Tim Priest. The trouble is, it isn't true.
Before an audience of the literary journal Quadrant, on November 12, 2003, Priest rose to deliver an after-dinner speech which, according to him, has become "a defining article on Middle Eastern crime in this country". He tells the same story in his next book.
"I believe that the rise of Middle Eastern organised crime in Sydney will have an impact on society unlike anything we have ever seen," Priest told his Quadrant audience, and paused.
When he resumed, he told of his first encounter - as a drug squad detective - with Middle Eastern drug crime gangs. It was an experience that Priest says was his awakening to a menace that 20 years later he saw on Cronulla's shores.
The speech, "The Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia", was printed in Quadrant, and widely discussed during the race riots. A search for it on the internet brings up hundreds of hits.
Priest, now out of the police force, has become a prominent commentator on crime and policing. His political influence has reached as far as the Prime Minister's office.
But Priest's Quadrant story does not match any police records. And yesterday, when approached by the Herald, Priest explained why. His story was not - as he had asserted - an account of a single police operation. Instead, he said, it was the result of combining about six. He was compressing good detail to make a point, and saw nothing wrong with that.
"It was just convenient to get it all in one," he said.
Nicola joined the police in Louisiana post Katrina. Police were needed by the community, but not liked. She was tasked to do a job that required back up, and she got into trouble for being under resourced. Sadly, Cronulla and Nicola were linked.