Still no justice for Mulrunji – stop black deaths in custody

Mulrunji (Cameron) Doomadgee
Mulrunji (Cameron) Doomadgee

originally published by: Green Left
30th May 2010

On May 18, the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission CMC announced it would take over primary responsibility for investigating all deaths in police custody in the state.

This followed the recommendation made by deputy chief magistrate Brian Hine when he delivered his findings on May 14 to the third coronial inquest into the 2004 death of Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee in the Palm Island watch house.

On November 19, 2004, Mulrunji was walking home when sergeant Chris Hurley, driving by in his police vehicle, arrested him on a drunk and disorderly charge. He was taken to the Palm Island watch house where there was a struggle, resulting in a fall.

The now-comatose Mulrunji was taken to a cell and left there. Forty minutes later, he was found dead from massive internal injuries.It’s the nature of the “complicated fall” that has prompted the three separate inquiries, in addition to the manslaughter trial where Hurley was found not guilty.

The original medical examination of Mulrunji’s body showed extensive injuries. He had four broken ribs, a ruptured portal vein and his liver was cleaved almost in two. They said the injuries were from a “massive compressive force, most likely a protruding knee”.

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