Later that day, Sergeant Carroll and Constable Kerr approach Joe in the streets of Northam. The Sergeant produces a warrant for Joe’s arrest. Joe is confused, as he and Mary are not living in town, and he assumed he was behaving legally, especially since he has been in Northam for two months.
The law is enacted inconsistently and arbitrarily, and so it is difficult for Joe, Mary, and other Aboriginal people to understand when they are violating a law and when they are not.
The Constable tries to handcuff Joe, but he resists. He clarifies he isn’t resisting arrest; he just doesn’t want to put them on. The Constable wants Joe to walk in front of him, but Joe insists on walking side by side, as the Constable is “not the sort of bloke I want to turn me back to.” Before he goes, Joe directs the Sergeant to where Mary is staying, and the Sergeant walks off to find her and return her to Moore River.
Joe has learned from his uncle Jimmy, and does not want to be disrespected by white law enforcement officials. He does not trust the Constable, and does not want to allow the Constable to have any authority or power over him, even if Joe does decide to comply with his arrest.