The findings of the Coronial Inquest into the death of Dunghutti man David Dungay has today recommended no charges or sanctions for the prison officers involved in his death in Long Bay Jail in 2015. It refused to even consider if charges were appropriate.
David was eating a packet of biscuits, and in response guards rushed his cell, transferred him to another one where he was held face down and injected with a sedative. He told the officers he couldn’t breathe just moments before he died.
The Coroner found that David Dungay was suffering a significant psychological condition when in jail with auditory hallucinations and also diabetes but he was not in the forensic hospital. He was in the prison hospital.
G Ward in Long Bay jail is the only prison ward providing involuntary mental health medication anywhere in the country – but tragically the Coroner has refused to look at this. In all other states in Australia David would have been in a fully resourced forensic hospital.
The Coroner has found there was no medical advice given to the prison officers to forcibly remove a packet of biscuits from David – this was the whole reason he was subjected to the gross brutality during which he died.
This is just the most recent in a long line of police investigations and coronial inquiries into black deaths in custody where there has been no accountability, and no justice.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“This is not a justice system for First Nations people, it’s a place where family members are killed, and the resulting investigations hold no one accountable for their deaths.
“From the outset the families wanted someone held accountable for David’s death, and the Coronial Inquiry refused to even consider this.
“Bringing in the prison riot squad in response to a person eating biscuits was grossly inappropriate and the fact that nonviolent alternative responses were not considered is damning.
“David Dungay’s death is not an isolated incident, it occurs in the context of massive overpolicing and overincarceration of First Nations people, and centuries of black deaths in custody.
“In the 240 since invasion of Aboriginal people’s land not a single prison officer has been convicted for the a black death in custody. Today this history continues.
“We support the families demand for justice and accountability,” Mr Shoebridge said.