“The major parties, Labor and Liberal, have failed to highlight Indigenous issues, and have largely ignored problems important to my community in this election”, Sam Watson, Aboriginal activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland, said at a rally to launch his campaign for the Queensland Senate on July 31.
In November 2008, Palm Island man Lex Wotton was convicted of "incitement to riot” and sentenced to six years' jail. His charge followed the Aboriginal community uprising and protest after the death in police custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee in November 2004.
After seven years, the police officers responsible for the killing of Palm Island Aboriginal man Mulrunji Domadgee — and the cover-up that followed — may face new charges as a result of a Crimes and Misconduct Commission (CMC) report. In November 2004, Mulrunji was found dead in a Palm Island police cell within an hour of his arrest by senior sergeant Chris Hurley. Mulrunji’s liver had been nearly cleaved in two by an extreme force and there were signs of bruising to his face.
Brisbane, June 18, 2010 - “The only way to find out the truth about the behavior of the Queensland police hierarchy in the cover-ups that followed the November 2004 killing of Mulrunji on Palm Island is to institute an independent commission of inquiry run by a respected interstate figure,” Sam Watson, well-known Murri rights activist and Socialist Alliance lead Senate candidate for Queensland said today. “In the meantime the Queensland Police Service (QPS) hierarchy, beginning with commissioner Robert Atkinson, must be sacked.”
Sam Watson, Aboriginal community leader and Socialist Alliance senate candidate for Queensland, spoke at a May 19 rally outside state parliament. He called for the sacking of police commissioner Bob Atkinson; the charging and conviction of police who kill Indigenous prisoners; for investigation of police to be carried out by an independent, community panel; and for a new Royal Commission into Black deaths in custody.
Senior Queensland police officers have been accused of using improper methods to cover up for fellow police officers when investigating the death of 36-year-old Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee in 2004. A coroner has described Doomadgee’s November 2004 arrest for intoxication as “not an appropriate exercise of police discretion”. Within an hour of the arrest by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, Doomadgee had died from blows to his body which almost split his liver in two.