Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

WA: Police negligence exposed at Ms Dhu inquest

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Outside the inquest into the death of the young aboriginal women Ms Dhu, Aunty Carol Roe told The Socialist “My granddaughter died in a cell begging for help”.

“She had broken ribs, bleeding on the lungs and was in excruciating pain. Locked up for days without proper medical attention, for $1000 in unpaid fines. She was just 22 years of age. My granddaughter died in her cell as a result of her injuries. She begged for help”.

“My granddaughter has just become another Aboriginal death in custody statistic… We are another family dealing with so much pain”.

At the inquest two police officers admitted that they did not believe Ms Dhu was ill and that they ignored her pleas for help. A police video showed Ms Dhu being dragged out of the cell unconscious and then police officers took more than 30 minutes to get her to the hospital, next door to the police station.

Ms Dhu had been taken to hospital on two previous occasions but the nurses admitted that they did not take her temperature which would have shown an infection. This negligence by the police and health authorities led to a painful death for Ms Dhu and highlights the systemic racism that Aboriginal people endure.

By Mick Suter