the link below takes you to the preview of the film documentary, the tall man, based on the book by chloe hooper that andrew boe had requested she write on the killing of mulrunji doomadgee by then sen, sgt. chris hurley during november 2004.
many many words have been written on this homicide and the attempts by the queensland police, and especially their union, to not only exonerate hurley but also his friends in the force who tampered both with evidence and witnesses of the death of doomadgee. sgt darren brennan being the worst example. also exonerated were the officers involved in terrorising the community after they had shown their righteous anger at the puerile attempt to shrug off the death of doomadgee as some type of accident. an accident that really did not involve hurley in any way.
the injuries suffered by doomadgee were horrendous and were the clear result of the actions of hurley demonstrating his authority and anger towards mulrunji who had struck hurley when being removed from the police van. far worse however was the absolute contempt and arrogance by the police on duty towards the wellbeing of mulrunji after he was dragged into the cell and callously left to die in physical and mental agony due to his massive injuries.
the legal duty of care that hurley and the other police present was totally unknown to these officers. no level of humanity to mulrunji entered their thinking. after all, mulrunji was only another black-feller and therefore did not receive any consideration as to state of health after hurley had knee-dropped onto him causing 4 broken ribs, a cleaved liver, among other injuries. had these injuries been sustained by a dog or any other animal, then i am sure the police would have been much more solicitous to the pain and suffering of the dog, even to the point of putting the animal out of its misery.
for 30 pain-racked and mind-numbing minutes doomadgee was left on the cell floor to die. his calls for help ignored and ultimately denied by those who truly believe that the life of an aborigine is of no real consequence, except perhaps for the paperwork and the long practiced need to cover-up the real circumstances of the death so as to exonerate any officer from any hint of involvement leading to the homicide that had occurred. a death in custody is always a nuisance for the police but nothing more than that.
the police, nationally, are well practiced in the ancient art of cover-ups as they have been doing it for over 200 years. for some 170 years there was not even a contest as the coronial courts merely accepted the police versions arising from their own investigations of their own death in custody events. with the advent of the royal commission into aboriginal deaths in custody the only changes brought to that process was to become even more skilled and inventive and to collude with the coronial courts and the relative governments to more publically support them.
hurley was eventually found that he had no case to answer by an all-white jury formed from the legally recognised racist city of townsville. he is now an inspector serving on the gold coast. a plum position, an award for remaining true to the police culture that will neither accept responsibility for their actions or to consider the humanity of an apology arising from those actions.
with such an example of injustice being supported by the police, courts and governments, among quite a few others, it behoves us not to forget that a legal crime has taken place and any and all avenues of keeping that crime in the public eye, as we attempt to do with all the death in custody cases, but some have a greater public and media profile and therefore are able to maintain a better profile publically.
mulrunji, douglas scott, john pat, eddie murray, tj hickey………………..the list just goes on and on. all cry for the justice that was denied to them and their families. over 400 of our people have died since 1980 and yet no custodial officer has been found guilty and gone to gaol for their crime. 400 + deaths and no one proved to be guilty. such odds are just not real nor possible without critical manipulation and sanctioned collusion. until the police lose their investigative powers to investigate themselves then those unbelievable odds will continue to frustrate and concern us.
whilst many words have been written i would still urge those interested in this cover-up to access themselves to three informative sources to be truly able to get the full picture or story of all the public facts. i recommend ‘gone for a song’ by abc reporter, jeff waters; ‘the tall man’ by chloe hooper and the indigenous social justice association newsletters that follow the case from day one. these can be found at isja.org and are free to download should you wish to do so. you will also find other dic reports among other social justice issues.
for those who were able to attend the 7th anniversary of the death of tj you may remember the strong words spoken by our good supporter, andrew partos. his son, antony, composed the music score for the tall man. you have every right to be proud, andrew!
ps i have two reports hat i am loath to post out but will send to those who are interested. one is further analysis on the post by michael anderson and the other relates to the statement made by the nt elders. should you wish to receive them then please let me know.
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indigenous social justice association
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for our newsletter site go to www.isj.org
we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.
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