International Day of Solidarity for Indigenous Australian Woman Ms Dhu
[TW violence] The tragic and preventable injustices suffered by Indigenous Australian woman Ms Dhu deserves urgent international attention.
Earlier this week, the West Australian Coroner found that the death in custody of 22-year old Indigenous woman Ms Dhu was preventable. She was imprisoned for petty fines that White Australians are not jailed for, let alone ultimately die over. The police abuse includes denying Ms Dhu medical attention as she lay dying.
Ms Dhu died of respiratory complications due to infection.
Racism in policing
The footage below, which her family wishes to be shared widely, shows how police dragged her body as she lay dying. She was denied medical attention by police officers until long after she lost consciousness. The police insisted that they acted lawfully and dared to emphasise the “distress” of the 16 police officers and one assistant police commissioner in front of Ms Dhu’s grieving family (https://goo.gl/CMx5EF).
Unwarranted concern for the police officer’s feelings was shamefully echoed by Western Australian Premier Colin Barnet, who said: “there was a difficult situation that the police were facing then, a lot of aggression,” despite the evidence showing Ms Dhu showed no aggression (https://goo.gl/ePRiH7).
The footage and other evidence from the Coronial Inquest shows Ms Dhu was the only person in distress at the hands of police brutality.
Social science shows that police accept racist stereotypes of Black and Brown people, which affects their excessively violent treatment of people of colour.
Indigenous Deaths in Custody
It has taken two years for the Coronial Inquest to be finalised. If this was a White woman, not only would she never have ended up in jail, this case, and the footage would have led to swift national reform of police practices. Australia’s national racism is evident in the relative lack of public action on this case.
Indigenous deaths in custody has been a shameful ongoing problem for Australia, even 25 years after a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody made recommendations to end practices that lead to systemic racism in the justice system. Indigenous Australians continue to have poor health, educational outcomes, lack of access to basic services and basic justice due to our ongoing colonial practices.
Ms Dhu’s family are asking for national and international solidarity today, 22 December 2016 (https://goo.gl/kG5NL5). Please watch the video and spread Ms Dhu’s story. Demand justice for Ms Dhu and justice for Indigenous families who continue to see case after case exonerated, excused and ignored.
Credits and learn more
Footage of CCTV released by The Guardian, posted by Ms Dhu’s family. https://goo.gl/oVZ4S6
Research on police racism: https://goo.gl/xLU2ZB
Royal Commission: https://goo.gl/9izLjH
More research, links and background on the case on my blog: https://goo.gl/6mIJ9f
#sociology #msdhu #australia #indigenous #indigenousaustralian #blacklivesmatter #socialjustice #socialscience #woc