Welcome to the Australian version of justice…
Police in Atherton, Queensland, Australia surveilled the funeral of a 14-year-old boy who was killed in a horrific motorcycle accident, fining attendees and confiscating private property. Understandably, many found the actions to be disrespectful and heavy-handed. It was also disruptive for the family of Andrew Beazley, the young man who was killed suddenly.
As riders made their way to the funeral service, police swooped in, issuing fines for numerous violations, including for obstructing traffic and wearing outlaw motorcycle gang clothing. Many were also cited for not wearing a helmet, with one man interviewed by local journalists claiming he removed his briefly to help direct traffic. Police also towed away motorcycles for other infractions.
It’s tradition for motorcyclists in the area to not wear any head coverings, including helmets, while riding from one funeral service location to another. Even though it’s technically illegal, not wearing a helmet is supposed to show respect for the dead.
Not only did police tow away bikes, they seized some riders’ vests and belts because they were the wrong colors. In 2017 it became illegal for outlaw motorcycle club members to wear club colors in public.
Speaking to the media, a spokeswoman for the Queensland Police said officers targeted the funeral “in the interest of public safety and enforcing Queensland OMCG legislation.” However, local state MP Shane Knuth disagreed, stating police surveillance of the funeral was disrespectful, not necessary.
Knuth observed not everyone in attendance was from a motorcycle club, so “many young people from all different walks of life” were caught up in the sting. Knuth stated he would refer the operation to the state’s minister for police.
Beazley was riding his new motorcycle on January 25 while school was out on break when tragedy struck. The teenager hit a truck and was killed. Since he was active in the local motorcycle enthusiast community, helping out with charity rides.