Protestors chant and bend down on their knees. They hold handmade red, yellow and black signs saying 'stop don't shoot' and Black Lives Matter. Woman in front raises her fist and is wearing an Aboriginal flag tshirt.

Independent investigation needed into the latest Indigenous death in custody

The latest death in custody of an Aboriginal woman in a Brisbane watch house this week is a shameful legacy of the government’s inaction on recommendations made in the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Amnesty International said.

There have been more than 400 Indigenous deaths in custody since the Royal Commission made its recommendations, and must be investigated independently.

Queensland Police said in a statement that the Ethical Standards Command will investigate the death.

“The fact is that an investigation by police into the actions of police doesn’t have any credibility at all,” Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Advisor, Rodney Dillon, said.

The fact is that an investigation by police into the actions of police doesn’t have any credibility at all.

Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights Advisor, Rodney Dillon.

“We have spoken with the woman’s family and they want a fully independent inquiry — Amnesty International Australia backs them in this request. Queensland has the opportunity to lead the way by investigating this tragic death properly. 

“It’s the very least the family should expect from a system which has failed them so badly.” 

Community spokesperson Wayne Wharton said there was concern for people who have specific needs and children being kept in watch houses.

“They need to find alternative accommodation for people who are sick – like access to rehab and diversion for young people rather than sending them into the prison system,” Mr Wharton said.

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