WARNING THIS ARTICLE REFERS TO THE DEATH OF AN INDIGENOUS MAN.
4 August 2020 – M.Deserio
Over 95,000 signatures have been delivered to Parliament seeking justice for Dunghatti Warrior, David Dungay junior, who died, needlessly in custody.
While the focus of ‘Black Lives Matter’ recently dominated US headlines, Australia has its very own story of a man who told his prison guards ‘I can’t breathe,’ over a dozen times in the space of nine minutes. This is a story from 2015 – but the words are not just a story, not just a headline from five years ago – they reveal the last moments of a man who died while a patient in Long Bay Prison Hospital.
Sitting in his cell, eating crackers, prison guards stepped in, creating a security and health crisis that would end David’s life.
Five years on, there has been no accountability – no justice for David Dungay, a young man of just 26 years old who had ‘done his time’ and was on his way back to the life he had left behind.
His family delivered the 90,000+ signatures to Parliament, as the National Justice Project, headed up by George Newhouse and staff from his human rights team, Jazlie Davis and Ashleigh Buckett, stand in solidarity with them and demand accountability for David’s death, justice for the 432 Black deaths in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and call for the implementation of all 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
This is not just a story from five years ago. It is a story for today.
In David Dungay’s own words in a poem, he acknowledged the lack of care from inside –
“They don’t care, well that’s how it seems
And they take away our hopes and dreams
And until the day we’re out and free
This is how our life’s to be”
The online petition for justice for David Dungay now has over 95,000+ signatures and the numbers keep climbing.
It is a sign that the public care. Now it is time for the implementation of all 339 recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. It is time for the NSW Attorney General to refer the matter to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions and SafeWork NSW to investigate criminal charges under the laws of New South Wales, to show that they care; that ‘Black Lives Matter’.
It is time to honour the apology for the past mistreatment they have endured, issued by Parliament to the Indigenous peoples of this land, in their 2008 address. It is time to show this nation that they want to put an end to racism in Australia by addressing the issue of Justice for David Dungay, and all like him, who have died.