As world looks to George Floyd verdict, at home, no justice for Blak deaths in custody

The Australian Greens MPs

Thirty years since the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Australia has yet to reckon with its history and the reality that Black Lives Matter.

George Floyd couldn’t breathe – and across the world, his death sparked a renewed conversation around racial injustice, justice systems and police reform.

Yet right here in this country, 474+ First Nations families have lost a loved one in custody in the thirty years since the Royal Commission handed down its findings – deaths for which not a single person or institution has been held to account.

As recently as last month, we learned that Townsville police used a similar lethal choking hold method as used on George Floyd, when arresting a First Nations man who died in 2018.

“Today’s verdict is a small step towards accountability for George Floyd’s family and loved ones. But the families who have lost a loved one in custody in this country are still being denied justice. No-one is being held to account,” Australian Greens Senator for First Nations people Lidia Thorpe said today.

“The Black Lives Matter movement in the United States sparked real change. It’s well past time for this country to have that same painful conversation – to face the reality of what these deeply racist systems are doing to Aboriginal people. After all, we are the most incarcerated people on earth.

“Enough is enough. Enough to police violence. Enough to the over-incarceration of our people, and our children. We’ve suffered enough at the hands of these colonial authorities.

“No justice, no peace. We can end Blak deaths in custody – and end the constant grief, the pain, and the trauma. This Government needs to show some leadership and implement the full recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody as a priority,” Senator Thorpe added.

/Public Release. View in full here.