Friday, December 22, 2006


A young Aboriginal man is beaten to death in a Palm Island police cell and nobody is prosecuted for anything. When investigators come to the island to look into the matter, they go out drinking with the people they're supposed to be investigating.

While this most controversial Aboriginal death-in-custody case has been covered by the Australian media, the reaction of Aborigines to the unprosecuted killing of one of their own hadn't really reached the Australian people.

Until now, that is.

From The Australian (excerpts) :

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine last night accused Queensland's Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare of declaring "war on Aboriginal people" after she defiantly ruled out any review of her decision not to lay charges over the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee.

The Queensland Police Service will now treat every indigenous death in custody as a suspicious event, meaning that it will be automatically investigated centrally by the ethical standards branch instead of through a local investigation.

Last week, Ms Clare ruled that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley would face no charges over Doomadgee's death in a police cell on Palm Island in November 2004. This was despite a coroner's finding that Sergeant Hurley was responsible for the death.

The Australian reported this week that the initial investigation into Doomadgee's death was handled by police officers who were friends of Sergeant Hurley.

After Doomadgee died in custody, police from Townsville flew out to investigate the matter later that day, and spent the evening socialising with the police they were investigating.

Mr Mundine said the indigenous community would not let the matter rest, and warned there would be a continuing campaign against the decision.

"Police and prison officers arethere to serve the public, andwhen something like this happens, it creates an issue of concern for all Australians because it shows a serious flaw in our democracy."

Paradise Still Denied On Palm Island

Palm Island Mayor Calls Decision Not To Prosecute "Cowardly"