Rally demands justice for Eddie Murray

Protesters outside Sydney Town Hall. Photo: Rachel Evans.

Over 100 people rallied in Sydney on the anniversary of Eddie Murray’s death in police custody in a northwestern New South Wales town of Wee Waa 33 years ago.

Murray's murder was one of the black deaths in custody that led to the historic Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Murray died while in police custody in 1981 - inside Wee Waa police cells. Murray, a happy, bright young man with a long rugby career in front of him, was last seen opposite the Imperial Hotel in Wee Waa. The police rang the family the following day and told them he had committed suicide in a police cell using a blanket.

The rally was organised by Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA). It was chaired by ISJA spokesperson Ray Jackson and addressed by Murray’s sister, Anna Murray, Murri activist Sam Watson, Greens MP Lee Rhiannon, former ABC journalist Jeff McMullen and author Simon Luckhurst.

Anna Murray said: “I remember seeing Eddie Murray on 12th June 1981, I will never forget him. We fought hard for justice that we never got. Eddie was a loving and happy person to all his sisters and brothers. He loved his nephew dearly — that was my son. Me and my family have been in a great deal of pain. These people need to be charged, we have to get justice for my brother so he can rest in peace.”

Watson said: “What a terrible crime, these are not deaths in custody but they are police murders. Those who murdered are walking around in blue uniform, and since the 1991 Royal Commission the murder rates have escalated."

Rhiannon said: “These police are protected behind badges. We must give tribute to Eddie's mother and father — Leila and Arthur Murray who fought so hard for justice. They were calling for an independent inquiry to get to bottom of this. No police investigating police but a proper inquiry. This is what we call for now.”

The rally marched through Sydney streets to NSW Parliament where protesters and the family demanded an independent inquiry.

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