November 18 will be the second anniversary of the police killing of Mulrunji in Palm Island's watchhouse. On that day, members of Queensland's Aboriginal community and their supporters will rally in Brisbane to demand an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Thirty-six-year-old Mulrunji was taken into police custody on the morning of November 19, 2004, for "public drunkenness". Within one hour he lay dead in a cell, with four broken ribs and a liver split in two. On September 27 this year, Queensland deputy state coroner Christine Clements found that Mulrunji should never even have been taken into custody and that his death was caused by blows from Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley.
"Mulrunji's death is only one in a tragic history of police racism, violence and murder against Aboriginal people, yet virtually no police have been brought to justice", Brisbane rally organiser Sam Watson told Green Left Weekly. "The importance of the case of brother Mulrunji is that at last some truth has been revealed. November 18 is about all of us who can't rest until we see justice. [We're] demanding justice for Mulrunji, but also for every person who has lost a loved one to police murder and brutality.
"Not only should Hurley be held accountable, but also Premier Peter Beattie ... Beattie's government has already said it won't implement some of Clement's recommendations."
The Brisbane rally is demanding: an end to black deaths in custody and police racism; full implementation of the findings of the 1992 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody; the reopening of all contested cases; and the dropping of charges against the Palm Islanders who rose up in grief after Mulrunji's killing.
Protests will be held across Australia. In Melbourne, the issue will be brought into the protest against the G20 summit. For more information, phone Sam on 0401 227 443 or email <email@example.com>.