An Indigenous Man Has Died In Custody, Making 5 Deaths In Custody In 4 Weeks

No justice, no peace.


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A week away from the 30th anniversary of the final report from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, an Indigenous person has died in police custody. They are the fifth in 4 weeks.

Since March 2nd of this year, there have been 5 Indigenous deaths in custody. As Jennetta Quinn-Bates wrote in her piece published only last week:

“On March 2, a 35-year-old Aboriginal man died at the Longbay Correctional Centre prison hospital in Sydney. Three days later, a 44-year-old Indigenous woman died at Silverwater Correctional Facility. Another two days went by and, on March 7, another man died in Ravenhall Correctional Centre in Melbourne. The following week, a 37-year-old Barkindji man died after being pursued by police in Broken Hill — it was March 18.”

Now, there’s a fifth in just over four weeks. The latest involves a 45-year-old male inmate at Perth’s Casuarina Prison, Western Australia’s main maximum-security prison.

The recent proliferation of Indigenous deaths in custody has prompted calls for a second Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. It’s almost exactly 30 years and 500 deaths in custody since the first commission laid out its recommendations, and it’s clear little has changed.

“This is a festering crisis that demands federal attention and leadership,” tweeted Yawuru Senator, Patrick Dodson.

On Saturday the 10th of April, national days of protest are being held in the Eora (Sydney) and Naarm (Melbourne) nations. The Sydney protest will meet at 1pm at the Sydney Town Hall. In Melbourne, those wishing to protest should meet at the steps of Parliament House at 1pm.

Junkee will update with more protests relating to Saturday the 10th of April if more events are organised. Please protest safely, not just for yourself, but for the safety of any Mob in attendance as well.

Photo via @stopblackdeathsincustody on Instagram. 

Merryana Salem (she/they) is a proud Wonnarua and Lebanese–Australian writer, critic, teacher, researcher and podcaster on most social media as @akajustmerry. If you want, check out their podcast, GayV Club where they gush about LGBT rep in media. Either way, she hopes you ate something nice today.