Aborigine who died in custody was punched on the ground

Cameron Doomadgee
Cameron Doomadgee

originally published by: SKY News
9th March 2010

A new inquest into the death of an aboriginal man in an Australian police station has been told he was punched on the ground by an officer who had his knee on his chest.

Mulranji Doomadgee died in a police cell on Palm Island off the coast of Queensland in 2004. He had suffered massive internal injuries including his liver being cut almost in two. Sergeant Chris Hurley had arrested him for being drunk and abusive. Following the original inquest, he was charged with manslaughter, but an all-white jury took only four hours to acquit him.

The police union then applied for a new inquest to be held to try to exonerate the officer from any blame. Following the death of Mr Doomadgee, Palm Island erupted in rioting, and police reinforcements had to be sent from the mainland to restore order.

A video was shown at Sgt Hurley’s trial in which he gave his version of events, with the part of the prisoner played by a fellow officer. He said that as he dragged Mr Doomadgee into a cell, both men tripped and fell.

But on the opening day of the new inquest, a prisoner who was in the police station at the time, testified that he saw a scuffle reflected in a wall-mounted mirror.

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