Death of Ms Dhu

death in police custody of an Australian Aboriginal woman

Julieka Ivanna Dhu (December 26, 1991 — August 4, 2014) (usually called Ms Dhu out of respect for Aboriginal customs) was an Aboriginal Australian woman who died in police custody on 4 August 2014.

She was put in jail for not paying fines. She complained about pain and was sent to hospital, but staff there believed she was suffering from the effects of drugs. She was returned to prison and then sent back to hospital about complaining about not being able to stand. It turned out that she died from an infection caused by a rib that was broken before she was arrested.

A lot of people in Australia were sad about Ms Dhu's death. They thought she died because the police and hospital staff were being racist to her.

Background change

Ms Dhu change

Ms Dhu was born on 26 December 1991 in Western Australia. [1]: 5  She was of the Yamatji people. She was "cheerful" as a child and didn't have a lot of serious health problems.[1]: 5  Dhu completed Year Eleven;[1]: 5  but her family said that after not completing school, her friends were "bad" and that she was a "wild child".[2]

In November 2009, when she was 17, police found Dhu sleeping near Cable Beach; when they woke her up, she seemed to be intoxicated, used bad language at them, and said "I don't remember anything after taking that eccy".[2] The police arrested her for her behaviour and for not telling the police her name and address, keeping her in jail for one night. They let her go the next morning on bail, but she did not come to Court when the police case against her was held, and the court said she had to pay the police $200 as punishment.[2] The next year, Dhu got in some small troubles with the police after she moved back to Port Hedland. Once, she kicked a female police officer while being put under police control for Dhu's behaviour. The court again said she had to pay the police money as punishment.[2]

In 2013, when Dhu was 21 years old, her boyfriend was a 42 year old man, Dion Ruffin, who Dhu did not know did violent acts against his girlfriends.[2]

Arrest change

Ms Dhu's partner was abusing her, so she called the police for help. Instead, they arrested both of them. She had a warrant for her arrest due to unpaid fines that came from three arrests when she was a teenager.

Death change

Ms Dhu said that she could not stand. The officers thought she was out of her mind and called her names like "junkie".[3] Dhu fell and the officers let her fall to the ground and hit her head. They got tired of her and so sent her to hospital. When they got there, the officers told the nurses that Dhu was acting.

53 minutes after Ms Dhu arrived at hospital, she was pronounced dead.

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Fogliani, Rosalinda (16 December 2016). "Inquest into the death of Julieka Ivanna DHU" (PDF). Western Australian Coroner's Report.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Hills, Ben (2016). "Paying with her life: Justice for Julieka Dhu". Special Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on 1 April 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  3. "Ms Dhu inquest: Dying woman shown no compassion; branded 'junkie' by police sergeant". ABC News. 21 March 2016. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2018.