Indigenous woman Julieka Ivanna Dhu, 22, died in police custody in Port Hedland, Australia, on August 4, 2014.
Ms Dhu had been arrested on 2 August on a warrant of commitment for unpaid fines and was told she would have to spend four days in a cell of a police station to clear her debt. She complained several times of terrible pain in her chest and asked to go to hospital. Medical staff judged that her complaints were exaggerated and associated with drug withdrawal.
On 4 August, Dhu complained that she could no longer stand. Police officers, who accused her of faking her condition, handcuffed her, carried her to the back of their van and returned her to the hospital. She was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The inquest learned that the pain was caused by an infection in the rib broken more than three months earlier in an altercation with her partner. Coroner’s inquest found that both police and hospital staff had been influenced by preconceived ideas about Aboriginals and that Dhu’s death could be prevented.
In April 2021, a doctor who declared Dhu fit to be detained before she died in police custody has been ordered to pay $30,000. The Dhu family was dissatisfied with this decision and wants the doctor’s medical license to be taken away. The family is still fighting for justice for Julieca and participating in demonstrations demanding justice for victims of police violence.
MASS MEDIA ABOUT THE CASE:
The initiative group has requested the clarification from Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, Attorney-General of Australia Michaelia Cash and Minister for Home Affairs of Australia Karen Andrews. The initiative group believes it is important to fight against police brutality and, if necessary, will provide legal and financial assistance to the family of the victim.