The Indigenous Social Justice Association says a pattern has emerged in successive First Nations coronial inquests, whereby authorities are excused of any wrongdoings, despite the court’s supposedly neutral stance, writes Paul Gregoire.
Family members and supporters of Eric Whittaker rallied outside NSW Parliament on on July 4, the first anniversary of his murder.
Speakers at the action included Eric's mother, Margaret Hall, Diane Whittaker, Elizabeth Jarrett, Padraic Gibson, Raul Bassi and Ken Canning.
Whittaker was a 35-year-old Kamilaroi man put in Parklea Prison for an alleged breach of bail conditions.
The Walgett father of four was imprisoned for only two days before he was fatally injured in the prison.
Family and supporters of the Whittaker family gathered outside NSW Parliament on December 6 to demand justice for Eric Whittaker who died in custody in July.
Eric died, shackled to a hospital bed. The horrific nature of his treatment in custody has only come to light because a photo of him lying manacled and unconscious was only recently given to the media.
Diane Whittaker, one of Eric’s aunts, told protesters that there had been a failure in duty of care and that people had to be held responsible for the cruelty shown her nephew.
Sydney rally condemns Aboriginal deaths in custody
The July 19 anniversary of the death in custody of Aboriginal woman Rebecca Maher was marked by a march from Hyde Park to Parliament House. The march also protested the recent death of Indigenous man Eric Whittaker, a prisoner in Parklea Prison. The action was organised by the families and the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA).
The rally condemned the continuing killing of Aboriginal people in police and prison custody, with no one ever convicted of these crimes.