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Who killed the young dancer?

His memory and beauty, we carry beyond
How long, how long will these killings go on?
– Kev Carmody

Daniel Yock would still be in his prime if he had lived. Under the old tree on the corner of Russell and Edmonstone Streets in Musgrave Park Aboriginal poet, Lionel Fogarty, said farewell to his brother Boonie (Daniel Yock) who was killed by police nearby on the corner of Edmonstone and Sussex Streets, South Brisbane on 7 Nov 1993.

March to CBD after Daniel Yock’s death in 1993

Wind forward and it is 27th anniversary of Daniel Yoch’s death. It is also NAIDOC week with the big family fun day in Musgrave Park cancelled because of Covid -19.

There are things about the inquiry into Daniel Yoch’s death that trouble me still. Prominent Labor lawyer, Llew Wyville, was appointed to look into Daniel’s death ‘because the optics did not look good’ – Wayne Goss (Premier of Qld).

Goss, an experienced civil liberties lawyer, may have been concerned because it took police over half an hour to drive the two and a half kilometres from Brereton Street West End to the Roma St watch house in the CBD. When they arrived, Daniel was found to be not breathing and to have no pulse. An ambulance was called, but resuscitation was unsuccessful and on arrival at the hospital he was pronounced dead.

On his arrest Daniel had been roughed up, had fallen heavily to the ground and police placed him face down on his stomach in the paddy wagon with his arms handcuffed behind his back. An eyewitness said he had vomit coming from his mouth.

West End 1993

At the inquiry, it was submitted by Mr John Jerrard QC, a former public defender: “… that if an ambulance had been called, Yock would have been in the care of ambulance officers or a hospital when he suffered the Stokes-Adams [heart] attack and would thus have had a better chance of survival.”

A “workers’ inquiry” came to the conclusion – that Daniel had died from a lack of oxygen after being left face down, unconscious, and unable to breath.

No official response was ever granted to this report. Daniel’s death was the 52nd in police custody in the then four and a half years since the federal royal commission into aboriginal deaths in custody.

Sam Watson speaks at commemoration of Daniel Yock’s death circa 2013

The flower of youth, cut down in the night/
Dead in the police van and driven from the site/
Another young warrior has been sacrificed./
His spirit endures, our grieving hearts bled/We still long for the song of the young dancer who’s dead” – Kev Carmody

Ian Curr
9 Nov 2020

Reference
The Young Dancer is Dead – Kev Carmody
https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-09/thin-black-line-death-custody-daniel-yock-sparked-wildfire-anger/12813008?nw=0&pfm=sm

Daniel Yock’s grave at Cherbourg tended by his friend who witnessed his murder by police

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