NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb reveals rioters after alleged church stabbing disguised themselves as police promise crackdown


The NSW Police Commissioner has slammed the “disgraceful and disgusting” conduct of rioters following the alleged stabbing of a bishop at a Sydney church, revealing some had simply come along just to participate in the chaotic scenes despite not being from the parish.

Karen Webb announced two strike forces had been established to not only investigate the stabbing in Wakeley’s Christ The Good Shepherd Church, but also the resulting riots which followed outside the place of worship earlier this week.

There are currently 70 police officers dealing with “proactive engagement” with the community in response to the violence.

Ms Webb said another 10 detectives had been added to the investigative arm of the strike force to identify those responsible for the riots.

She revealed some had disguised themselves on the night.

First arrest after bishop stabbing riots in Wakeley

“People in the community know who they are, their families know who they are,” Ms Webb said.

“We need to know who they are.”

Wild scenes captured a chaotic mob swarming the Wakeley church after Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was allegedly stabbed by a 16-year-old during a livestreamed service on Monday.

Paramedics were caught up in the chaos while some rioters smashed and damaged police vehicles, leaving 51 officers injured.

Officers were trapped for hours inside the church during the confrontation.

A 19-year-old Doonside man has already been arrested and charged with rioting, affray and damaging police vehicles.

“That individual, while coming from the community, was not a member of that parish,” Ms Webb said.

“People just came along to participate in the riot – that’s disgraceful and disgusting.

“The sooner (these rioters) are put before the courts, the sooner they can be dealt with”.

Ms Webb said police wanted to speak to up to 50 others whom they alleged were involved in the fracas with police.

The 16-year-old alleged to have stabbed Bishop Emmanuel remains in hospital under police guard.

Speaking from his hospital bed on Thursday morning, the 55-year-old preacher delivered a message to his attacker, saying he forgave him.

“I say to him, you’re my son, I love you. And I will always pray for you,” Bishop Emmanuel said in an audio message shared to the church’s social media.

“And whoever sent you to do this, I forgive them as well. In Jesus mighty name. I have nothing in my heart but love for everyone.

“Whether that person is a Christian or not, it’s totally beside the point. The Lord Jesus always taught us to love one another.

“And for this young man, I say to you, you’re my son, and you will always be, my praise my the Lord Jesus.”

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