AP Photo / Kristen Gelineau

NT cop fires 'warning shots' as armed locals turn on him

AN NT cop fired "several" warning shots into the sky when confronted by a large group of locals armed with weapons during escalating unruly behaviour to seize control of the situation.

Tensions have continued to rise in the Wadeye community 400km south of Darwin after more than a week of violence.

It is believed the unrest was sparked by the release of a man from prison who was jailed for killing a rival clan member.

The drastic action taken by the officer came as another three cops were assaulted and two police cars were damaged by locals. Six arrests were made and the same officer who fired the warning shots was forced to discharge a canister of capsicum spray.

The NT News understands the police who were assaulted have escaped serious injury.

A statement released by NT Police said the fired shots and use of capsicum spray "was part of police efforts to re-establish public order".

"Police will continue to work with the local community to prevent any further unrest," the statement read.

An NT Police spokeswoman said the incident was now part of an internal review.

"It is the NT Police policy to use only the force that is necessary to effectively bring a situation under control while protecting lives and property," she said.

"At the time of this incident, officers were confronted by a large group who were armed with various weapons.

"It is standard procedure to review all uses of force and particularly where firearms are involved. This incident is now being internally reviewed."

Last weekend, police were called to 11 brawls in Wadeye to deal with offenders armed with crude weapons.

An officer was struck in the arm with a steel bar and police vehicles were targeted with rocks. The Tactical Response Group and dog squad were sent to Wadeye as reinforcements.

The weekend assaults on police come after the NT Police Association called for stronger penalties for criminals convicted of attacking police. The Wadeye community consists of 20 indigenous clans and the region has been renowned for violent clashes.

Last year, a man was jailed for six months for attacking people from a rival family with a wheel brace in Wadeye.

The man threw the wheel brace but missed the man he was aiming at, but hit a woman with a rock during the riot.

In April, a new $28 million police station was opened in the community.

However, the reintroduction of the football league in 2014 considerably reduced the amount of violence in the town.

News Corp Australia


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