February 28, 9.30am. Coroner's Court, 1 Main Ave, Lidcombe.
In the past many Aboriginal Deaths in Custody never were investigated, the real cause and the real responsible never were made public. accident was the word to cover up, criminal, corrupt or lazy behaviour.
Eric Whittaker, a 35 year old Kamilaroi father of four, died shackled to a bed whilst in custody at Westmead Hospital. HE WAS ONLY IN HIS 4TH DAY IN JAIL.
Eric was taken into custody for relatively minor matters and was put in isolation in a maximum security cell at Parklea prison. According to prison, at some point, Eric fell and suffered injuries to his head. He called for help over 20 times and waited several hours before officers came to assist him. Despite being brain dead for several days, Eric's family found him shackled to the hospital bed before his life support was turned off on 4 of July 2017. The prison has given three conflicting accounts of the circumstances that led to Eric's death. In the Inquest never was mentioned falls in relation to his death.
A Coronial Inquest was held in October 2019 to investigate Eric's death. Yet no new information has been given to the family and the prison is yet to be held accountable.
The so-called "Justice" system continues to fail the families of Aboriginal people who are dying in custody at an alarming rate.
Please support the Whittaker family through this trying time at the Coroner's Court and demand an end to black deaths in custody.