- Colin Barnett
My granddaughter died in a cell begging for help. Please give us answers.
She had broken ribs, bleeding on the lungs and was in excruciating pain. Locked up for days without proper medical attention over $1000 in unpaid fines – at just 22 years of age, my granddaughter died in her cell as a result of her injuries. She begged for help.
People who were there say the police were just laughing at her. Telling her to get up when she couldn’t, and just laughing at her. The other men in the cell heard her crying - people on the cells each side of her - they heard it all.
My granddaughter has just become another Aboriginal death in custody statistic in Western Australia. We are another family dealing with so much pain, yet are being given no answers to what happened to our beautiful Julieka.
Witnesses say she was begging for help, but was dismissed as a 'mental case' by officers. They laughed at her – and according to reports in The Australian, when our baby girl "got quiet" she was dragged across the floor by two police officers. They mocked her - stood around laughing.
The government or police officials won't tell me anything. We have been denied access to the autopsy. We're being left without any answers to my granddaughter's death.
Every time another person dies, police do their own internal report. Police officers that know each other, interview each other. In other countries like the UK, they have an external and independent person investigate – I don't know if the police did anything wrong, but how will I ever know if we don't have an open investigation?
I've been shocked at the silence from politicians. Tony Abbott hasn't said a word, Premier Barnett's comments make it seem like he's comfortable with Julieka's death to be forgotten. That she's just the latest in many fatalities of people in the government's care.
The number of deaths in custody are rising. I remember my parents talking about it. We need our politicians to take action. It has to stop. It brings shame on our country, and suffering to so many families.
I am begging you to help me get answers, and to bring about real change. Please sign our petition.
It's been 20 years since a Royal Commission told our politicians what they need to do to stop people like my granddaughter dying in their care - it feels like we’re living decades ago - not in the new millenium – the government must:
1. Timely coronial inquest into Ms Dhu’s death in custody
2. Timely, regular and culturally competent communication to families
3. Royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody
4. No imprisonment as penalty for non-payment of fines and infringement
5. 24hr legal advice custody notification and R U OK phone line
6. 24hr medical coverage at watch house and on call medical assistance at lockups
7. Independent public inquiry into systemic racism, sexism in the justice system
8. Independent authority to investigate all custodial deaths
9. New criminal offenses of corporate and custodial manslaughter
10. Inspector of custodial services to oversee all lock ups in WA
11. Build communities, not prisons
We will always miss you, Julieka. This is for you.
- Colin Barnett
The royal commission into Aboriginal death in custody was done over 20 years ago, yet hardly any of it's 330 recommendations have been implemented. Indigenous people are dying in easily preventable ways and usually over trifling matters. This needs to STOP.
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