Marches commemorate death in custody


Marches commemorate death in custody

By John Nebauer

BRISBANE — About 130 people braved a hot and blustery day on November 7 to commemorate the first anniversary of the death in police custody of Aboriginal dancer Daniel Yock.

Yock was arrested along with a number of friends after being followed from Musgrave Park in South Brisbane by a police van. After being crash tackled by a police officer, Yock was kicked by another officer, according to nearby witnesses.

He was then thrown into the back of the van and, despite being in need of medical assistance, was driven around South Brisbane for about 30 minutes before being driven back to the Brisbane City watch-house. He was found dead on arrival.

Yock's death led to a number of demonstrations by the Aboriginal community, which in turn prompted the Queensland government to set up a Criminal Justice Commission inquiry into the matter. However, the CJC, despite evidence to the contrary, totally absolved all officers involved of any blame.

This year's march began at Roma Street Forum and was addressed by a number of members of the Brisbane Aboriginal community. Lionel Fogarty told the rally that everyone had to maintain the united front and fight the injustice of Yock's death.

Sam Watson of the Aboriginal Legal Service told the rally of the events leading up to Yock's death, and said it was important that we stand together as one people.

After the rally, protesters marched to South Brisbane and laid a wreath on the spot where Yock had been arrested.

In Sydney, 40 people attended a protest outside Parliament House to mark the anniversary.

The rally heard two Koori speakers, Ray Jackson and Arthur Campbell (whose brother Peter was murdered at Long Bay Jail in 1980), before marching to NSW police headquarters.

The rally organisers, Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, called for the reopening of the inquiry which absolved the police of responsibility for Daniel Yock's death.