A second Aboriginal death in custody sparks calls for action

There are calls to immediately implement recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in custody, following a second Aboriginal death in Townsville within six months.

The 39-year-old man reportedly died in the early hours on Saturday February 10 after losing consciousness in police custody shortly after an altercation with another man.

The calls have coincided with the 10 year anniversary of Australia’s apology to its indigenous people for the forced removal of children, known as the Stolen Generations.


With Aboriginal people making up roughly three percent of the population, yet accounting for over 25 percent of all deaths in custody, Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett is outraged that more isn’t being done.

“Two Aboriginal deaths in custody in the same area in less than six months is gut wrenching and disgraceful.

“The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody delivered its report over 25 years ago but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are still dying at inexcusable rates after coming in contact with police or the prison system,” he said.

Queensland Greens MP Michael Berkman is also putting pressure on Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, calling for the state government to be held responsible for every death in custody until all recommendations are implemented.

“When a young man was tragically killed on a night out in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, laws were changed almost immediately.

“But Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to die at shameful rates and the Queensland Government’s silence is deafening.

“The Queensland Labor Government will be happy to pose for photo opportunities at today’s 10 year anniversary of the apology to the Stolen Generations while continuing to ignore the recommendations that would put an end to the sickening injustice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s deaths in custody,” he said.