Community campaigns against deaths in custody

A March 18 emergency community meeting called by the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee attracted more than 35 people.

Shocking details about the death of a respected Warburton Aboriginal community leader in 2008 were revealed by the coronial inquest into his death.

The March 11 West Australian reported that the Aboriginal elder suffered third degree burns to his stomach after his collapse in the rear of a prison van where the airconditioning wasn't working.

He was being moved by a privatised prisoner transport service in a sealed rear compartment for a 360 kilometre journey on a 42°C day.

His body temperature was 41.7°c when he arrived in Kalgoorlie. He had been given only a 600ml bottle of water and a pie — and no comfort break — over the four-hour trip.

The March 18 meeting decided to set up a committee to organise an emergency picket on April 1 and a larger rally in May, when the inquest will resume.

At the meeting, Noongar elder Ben Taylor-Ciuermara contrasted the media-manufactured outrage over the March 12 aquittal of three men accused of assaulting police, with the shameful disregard paid by the media and politicians to the deaths in custody of Aboriginal people.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the campaign should contact Marc, from the Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, on 0415 074 602.