2 June 2020
The Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited (‘ALS’) has today voiced solidarity with Black Americans in their struggle against systemic racism, drawing parallels to the injustices faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people of colour in this country and joining their calls for justice following the death of George Floyd.
ALS Chief Executive Officer Karly Warner said, “We stand shoulder to shoulder, but sadly we don’t need to look overseas to see evidence of racism and heavy-handed responses. David Dungay Jr, Tanya Day and many more have been ripped from their families unnecessarily.”
“Our kids, mums and dads are too often unfairly targeted by police and are subjected to disparate treatment at every stage of the justice system.”
“Just this week we’ve heard reports of Aboriginal people who were subjected to extreme force by police. These are not isolated incidents and failing to address systemic racism perpetrated by individuals is placing our people in danger and killing our loved ones.”
“Inquiries and Royal Commissions have recommended police training, community led programs and law and policy reforms, such as independent investigations into police conduct - which could help ensure that our kids and their families are treated fairly.”
“But almost 30 years after the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report was handed down, we continue to see tragic and preventable deaths of Aboriginal people in both prisons and police custody because the government has failed to implement its recommendations. We also continue to hear horrific stories of mistreatment both inside and outside custodial settings – such as the unlawful strip search of a 16-year Aboriginal old boy in the street of a large regional town.”
The ALS is calling on all levels of government to urgently commit to ending Aboriginal deaths in custody and to increase police accountability and transparency, including by ending the practice of police investigating police.
“Inaction is not an option. Our lives are on the line” said Ms Warner.
ALS Media Contact: [email protected] / 0427 346 017