Charges dropped against Parmelia woman after ‘racist incident’

Headshot of Indigo Lemay-Conway
Indigo Lemay-ConwaySound Telegraph
Emefa Gidiglo after her charges were dropped by police.
Camera IconEmefa Gidiglo after her charges were dropped by police.

A Parmelia woman who says she was “manhandled and thrown into the back of a police van” after her neighbours complained about a crying baby has had her charges dropped by police.

Emefa Gidiglo, 32, said she has been left extremely traumatised by the event and believes she was targeted due to the colour of her skin.

“I feel like I was treated less than human,” Ms Gidiglo said.

Ms Gidiglo was arrested after police went to her home after a complaint from a neighbour of a crying baby.

When police arrived, Ms Gidiglo was in her car when she was approached by the two officers.

She said she didn’t want to give the officers her details until they told her why they were there. That’s when Ms Gidiglo alleges officer reached into her car, grabbed the key from the ignition and broke it, scratching her fingers in the process.

“They said they had a complaint about a crying baby, but they did not see the crying baby,” Ms Gidiglo said.

“The baby was inside with my husband, they didn’t ask for his details or anything they just decided to arrest me without giving me a reason and I believe that was because of my colour.

“The welfare check they were there to do was never carried out and I just got manhandled and thrown in a back of a van. The whole experience was very traumatising.”

Ms Gidiglo’s husband filmed the incident which has since been posted to social media.

She was charged with failing to comply with a request to give police personal details and obstructing police officers, but the charges were dropped at Rockingham court on Friday.

“I’m very happy my husband was there to film it because I feel like if he wasn’t they would have found a way to turn it onto me,” Ms Gidiglo said.

“I think if they had seen a person of a different race, someone that looked more like them, they wouldn’t have handled the situation in that matter, but because I am a black person they straight away assumed I was the reason the baby was crying.”

President of the Ethnic Communities Council of Western Australia, Suresh Rajan, said this case was a great opportunity to start rebuilding the relationships between advocacy groups and the police.

“From my perspective there is no question that this was a racist incident that occurred, the comforting things is that the police have dropped the charges. Now we just need to work on rebuilding the relationship back to what it was a few years ago,” Mr Rajan said.

A WA Police spokesperson said the incident is still under investigation by the Internal Affairs Unit and declined to comment further.

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