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Amanda Skinner at Sunday’s Black Lives Matter rally in Market Square, Grafton. Image: Lynne Mowbray

All lives matter

Among those attending Sundays’ rally was Amanda Skinner, who is the former partner of Christopher McGrail who was shot and killed by police in Grafton in 2017.

Ms Skinner spoke with the Independent about why she attended Sunday’s rally and about her personal thoughts regarding our local police.

I’m a Gumbaynggirr mum raising three girls on my own I’ve come to the Grafton ‘Black Lives Matter’ rally in support of George Floyd (who was) murdered,” Ms Skinner said.

“I do believe Australia does have police brutality. Myself and my disabled daughter experienced it in 2016, in our own home.

“I want to air that out to everyone because unfortunately Australia does have police brutality,” she said. 

Ms Skinner said that she has been trying to get the matter into court, but so far has not been able to get this to happen.

Since this incident, Ms Skinner said that she has a better rapport with the local police.

“I’ve built up a bit of a friendship with the Grafton police department, due to the suicide prevention awareness program, after I lost my son (Clinton McGrail-Skinner in 2015) to suicide,” Ms Skinner said.

“There are a lot of good police officers out there. They did actually support my girls and I through that.

“Not all coppers are bad. There are a lot of good ones and it’s good to see them supporting today’s rally.

“They do see what we all see and fight for – black lives matter and all lives matter.

“I lost my kids dad (Christopher McGrail in 2017) to police shooting him.

“At first, I was very upset because it was by the hands of a police officer.

“We’ve (me and my girls) now been through the Coronial Inquest and unfortunately his death too, was a suicide – their dad died by ‘Suicide by Police’.

“It took me a little bit to understand the two differences of suicide; having lost both my loved ones to suicide. But even out of that suicide loss, the police (including the sergeant involved) have also supported us you know, checking up on how we are and asking how we are doing. That is a big thing.

“I had to find closure and now I’ve found it and I’m content.

“I’m just sad, and I wish that my girls dad had got the help that he needed, after losing our son to suicide. That was so devastating to our family.

“Up to this day, I’m still under a trauma councillor and I need that.

“Everything that I have been through personally; the police do support us,” she said.

Ms Skinner said that Sunday’s rally gave the community a chance to once again have their voices heard.

“We remember poor George Floyd, who couldn’t breathe. All our lives matter,” she said.