Death of Aboriginal Woman Becomes Rallying Point for International Justice Campaign

StoryfulPublished: January 13, 2017Updated: January 14, 20172 views
Published: January 13, 2017Updated: January 14, 2017

Two years after an aboriginal woman died in police custody, an inquest by the West Australian Coroner’s Court ruled her death was preventable, on December 16.

Ms Dhu, whose first name has been omitted for cultural reasons, <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-16/ms-dhu-family-pledge-death-will-be-rallying-point/8128316" target="_blank">died two days</a> after being locked up at South Hedland Police Station in August 2014. Dhu was ill while in custody, and the <a href="http://www.coronerscourt.wa.gov.au/I/inquest_into_the_death_of_ms_dhu.aspx?uid=1644-2151-2753-9965" target="_blank">State Coroner found</a> that she was suffering from septicaemia and pneumonia. Her pleas for help were mostly ignored and she was accused of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/video/2016/dec/16/ms-dhu-death-in-custody-cctv-footage-shows-inhumane-police-treatment-video?CMP=share_btn_tw" target="_blank">faking it</a> until, in her final hours, she was handcuffed and dragged to a police wagon, where she later died in hospital. The coroner also slammed the WA Police, saying Dhu endured <a href="https://twitter.com/callapilla/status/809768927907590144" target="_blank">“inhumane treatment”</a> before her death.

While Dhu’s family and legal team accepted recommendations handed down by the <a href="https://twitter.com/callapilla/status/809656353278939136" target="_blank">State Coroner</a>, they were <a href="https://twitter.com/callapilla/status/809585082356748288" target="_blank">reportedly livid</a> about the disproportionate death of indigenous persons due to police actions.

Her death has sparked furious outrage across the board, both domestically and <a href="https://twitter.com/LeeJasper/status/809767348144107520" target="_blank">internationally</a>. Paige Taylor, writing for <a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/does-being-white-get-you-better-healthcare-than-miss-dhu/news-story/99532a8bfe635c1ae0a8bc688294c7ba?login=1" target="_blank">The Australian</a> – a conservative national broadsheet – said the difference between her treatment at the same hospital, as a white woman, compared to Dhu was “diabolical”.

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