Black Lives Matter: Greens call for ban on lethal choke holds, end to Blak deaths in custody


As the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum around the world, the Greens have today called for lethal choking holds to be banned across all states and territories.

It follows media reports today that Townsville police used a lethal choking hold method when arresting a First Nations man, who died in 2018.

A similar lethal choking technique was used by police in George Floyd’s death in the United States - a case that sparked renewed momentum for the Black Lives Matter movement.

There have been an estimated 24 deaths associated with this choking method in Australia since 2008, more than half of whom were First Nations people.

Some Australian state and territory police forces, including New South Wales, have banned use of the technique.

News of the force used before this man’s death comes as Australians learned of three First Nations deaths in custody in the past week alone. There have been almost 500 deaths of this kind since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody’s final report was handed down, thirty years ago this year.

Comments attributable to Greens spokesperson for First Nations peoples, Senator Lidia Thorpe:

“He couldn’t breathe. In other parts of the world, these three words - along with Black Lives Matter - have sparked a global conversation around racial injustice, justice systems and police reform. 

“Now there’s been yet another case just like it, here in our country. The Black Lives Matter movement in the United States sparked real change. It’s well past time for this country to have that same painful conversation - to face the reality of what these deeply racist systems are doing to Aboriginal people. After all, we are the most incarcerated people on Earth.

“Enough is enough. Enough to police violence. Enough to the over-incarceration of our people, and our children. We’ve suffered enough at the hands of these colonial authorities.

“There are no circumstances in which police should be allowed to get away with killing people. 

“The solutions are right in front of us. We need to outlaw this horrific technique across this country, and implement the full recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. 

“Until we end racial injustice, a deep stain in this nation’s conscience, there will be no end to the ongoing pain and trauma that First Nations people experience at the hands of the state in this country.”

Comments attributable to Queensland Greens First Nations spokesperson, MP for South Brisbane Amy MacMahon:

“Queensland should urgently move to ban this kind of lethal choking technique, and implement the full recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

“This man’s wife was concerned about his mental wellbeing - he needed support, care and de-escalation, and instead he was subjected to lethal force.”

“The harsh youth justice measures that the government have proposed will only make things worse.”

“If Queensland is serious about a Path to Treaty, we also need urgent measures to address the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and children in our prisons.”

 “Instead of punitive approaches, we need investment in housing, in jobs, in mental health services, in autonomous health and education organisations that give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people control over their lives.”


Statement ends