TJ Hickey was an Aboriginal young man, just 17 years old. On February 14, 2004, St. Valentines Day, TJ died as a consequence of a Redfern police pursuit. TJ’s bike was rammed by a police car whereby he was thrown in the air with great force, and landed on the spiked fence line at the corner of George and Phillips St, Waterloo, again with great force as described in the Final Autopsy Report that was not publically presented in the Coroners Court.
No proper medical attention was given by the first police officer on the scene, then-Constable Michael Hollingsworth. Instead TJ was roughly pulled off the spikes, thrown to the concrete, and then searched, whilst bleeding very heavily. Basic First Aid rules, as all police are trained for, insist that impaled victims must not be moved but must remain impaled until the Police Rescue Unit is called to assist. When the Police Rescue Unit did arrive with medically trained and competent staff, Constable Hollingsworth sent them away claiming that he was administering sufficient first aid to TJ. Finally two ambulances arrived and took over. Yet instead of taking TJ to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the closest, TJ was transported to the Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick. TJ died in hospital early the next morning.
And the history of every police Death in Custody was repeated. The innocents were convicted and jailed. The guilty got away and were promoted in their ranks. How so? That Sunday night the youth who knew TJ and/or others who blamed the Redfern police for the death of TJ became involved in the so-called Redfern riot that was formulated by the officers at Redfern police station. The aftermath of these events were really bizarre. The police officers involved in the TJ’s death were promoted, the fighters for justice were arrested, some convicted and even did some gaol time.
So, for NINE YEARS the Hickey family has been campaigning for Justice. And what did they get? Besides constant and ongoing police harassment to Gail and other members of the Family, they received a rigged Coronial Inquest, with evidence and witnesses suppressed, a totally flawed police investigation and callously ignored by NSW Governments and Family attempts to get justice from the United Nations under several UN Covenants ignored and suppression of the facts made by the Gillard Federal Government in their reply to the UN. Even the attempt to fix a plaque at the place of the incident has been stopped by Redfern police and the Department of Housing.
So in the NINTH ANNIVERSARY, Gail, the Family, the Communities where TJ lived, ISJA as well as other supporters continue to call for Justice for TJ and all Deaths in Custody. The call for Justice is the reopening of a wider investigation into the facts, the appearance of previously blocked witnesses and the presentation of all other withheld evidence, so as to allow for a full forensic examination of the facts to be finally able to reach an honest and just conclusion, the TJ plaque must finally be affixed to the fence line to remember TJ and all NSW Deaths in Custody as well as to stop all Deaths in Custody.
A Petition calling for Justice for TJ and his Family has been circulated and a march to NSW Parliament House, headed by Gail Hickey and the Family on February 14th, 2013 organized. The rally will start at the fence line, George and Philip St, Waterloo, at 10:30am. After the traditional minutes of silence and speakers, we will be marching to Parliament House after the traditional stop at the Redfern police station. After the march, Gail will be presenting the Petitions to the Attorney General, Greg Smith, at Parliament House.
NINE YEARS IS JUST WAY TOO LONG to call for real justice although other Deaths in Custody Families have fought for over 30 years. We have personally seen the physical and mental damage done to these Families. It is nothing but State-sanctioned torture by Governments and their police force to allow these injustices to continue. Justice delayed is Justice denied.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT RAY JACKSON 0450 651 063 OR RAUL BASSI 0403 037 376
INDEGENOUS SOCIAL JUSTICE ASSOCIATION (ISJA)