Forum condemns Black deaths in custody

Issue 

Outraged by the six Aboriginal deaths in custody this year, the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) organised a public meeting at the Redfern Community Centre on April 9 to tell the stories and call for justice.

People attending the forum heard about the unsatisfactory judicial results in the cases of the TJ Hickey, who died after being chased by police in Redfern, and Mulrunji, who died in police custody on Palm Island. Both died in 2004.

The cases of Mr Ward and Terry Griffiths, Aboriginal men who also died in police custody, were discussed.

The case of Veronica Baxter, a transgender Aboriginal woman died in a male jail after been arrested at Mardi Gras in 2009, was discussed in detail. Ray Jackson, ISJA spokesperson, said: "Within a matter of days, Veronica Baxter was found dead in her cell."

Questions remain unanswered 14 months after Baxter's death and Jackson said "the coroner is yet at set a date for the inquiry into her death."

Community Action Against Homophobia trans spokesperson Conor Montgomery spoke about the prevalence of violence towards transgendered people in the community and in police custody.

Jackson finished the meeting by declaring: "We will not be silent, we will continue to fight for justice."

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