Another Aboriginal Man Has Died In Police Custody, And His Family Is Demanding Answers

Nine Aboriginal people have died in custody since March.

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An Aboriginal man has died in custody. His death is the ninth Indigenous death in custody since March, six of which have been in New South Wales.

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following story contains the name and photo of a person who has died.

A Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman said the 43-year-old man was found unresponsive in his cell in Sydney’s Long Bay Correctional Complex, early on Thursday morning, July 8.

He is one of 478 Aboriginal people to die in prison and police incidents since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Ngemba man, Frank “Gud” Coleman, was pronounced dead less than an hour after being found.

The family say Coleman was healthy and his death has come as “a complete shock.” They are calling on an immediate autopsy and coronial inquest as soon as is practicable.

They say the prospect of waiting two years or more for his death to be examined by a Coroner’s Court is unacceptable.

His daughter, Lakota Coleman, said the Coroner has contacted them, “however time frames are still unknown for an autopsy. To date there has been no determination of cause of death and we are still left without answers.”

The family were unable to visit Coleman for roughly 18 months before his death due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We understand he didn’t have any visitors for several months,” Ms Coleman said.

“And that’s an agonising period of time to go without any physical contact with your siblings, your parents, your children.”

Hi ex-partner and mother of his three children, Skye Hipwell, said Mr Coleman extremely outgoing and friendly.

“Frank always said he was not a free man, he was living under a white man’s law, and it breaks my heart that he died not a free man. He died alone in a jail cell and no one knows anything about his last minutes.”