Concern for family, another death, ripple of pain


First Nations Death in Custody is a brutal outcome of the underservicing and overpolicing of rural First Nations communities. 

If the answer to problems in communities continues to be more police and more punitive policing tactics then nothing will change, and more First Nations people will die. 

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “This is a crisis in First Nations communities, with the criminal justice system continuing to target young people.    

“Gunnedah, like so much of regional NSW, is struggling with the lack of drug treatment options, not enough Aboriginal community health organizations, and too many police.

“This is a community that is struggling with intergenerational disadvantage and trauma, and the only response from the NSW government is more police, more First Nations people in prison and more deaths.

‘If the answer to every social issue in regional NSW is more police then it is inevitable that we will see more First Nations deaths in custody. 

“The deaths of First Nations people in custody are caused by system failure.

“What these communities need is support, investment in programs that target Aboriginal led health, education and employment, not just cops and prisons. 

“Failing to provide this support also leaves police in the unfair position of being first responders for mental health and other incidents where trained health professionals are needed. 

“We have another family grieving and asking for answers and we need an independent investigation into the police response including the use of weapons against this young man,” Mr Shoebridge said. 

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