The memory of two Aboriginal boys who drowned in Perth's Swan River after diving in to evade police has been attacked on social media.
Chris Drage, 16, and Jack Simpson, 17, were among five boys police chased on foot following reports of teenagers jumping fences after a house had been ransacked and burgled in suburban Maylands on Monday afternoon.
Four of them jumped into the water and two were captured but Jack and Chris were seen struggling in the middle of the river and did not resurface.
Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Dennis Eggington said some of the social media posts about the tragedy were vile and constituted racial vilification.
"It proves to me there is this underlying current of extremism - what I call entrenched colonial racism," Mr Eggington told AAP today.
"It's worse than discrimination, it's something much more evil."
Mr Eggington said the posts were a repeat of offensive social media comments that followed the death of Aboriginal boy Elijah Doughty in 2016.
The 14-year-old was riding a stolen motorcycle near Kalgoorlie when a man, who cannot be named, chased him in a ute and ran him down.
Mr Eggington said social media had provided a platform for people to air and cultivate hatred, and should be better moderated to keep offensive views "around their BBQs".
"It propagates, it perpetuates this type of thinking," he said
"Young kids in particular are all across Facebook so they're being influenced by another generation of Australia that denigrates Aboriginal people."
A coroner will hold an inquest into Chris and Jack's deaths, which will be treated with the same seriousness as a death in custody because police were present.
Mr Eggington urged the state government to fast-track the inquest so as to not prolong the suffering of the families, who need answers soon.
"They need some closure. They deserve the truth and nothing but the truth," he said.
He said positive steps by WA Police, including an apology to Aboriginal people who had been mistreated by the force and a push for more indigenous officers, would be diminished if there was a long wait for the inquest and the void was filled with social media commentary.
"By allowing this to fester and go on, those positive steps get eroded."