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Family challenges David Dungay death in custody reports

By Jane Salmon

Protest the Aboriginal Death in Custody of David Dungay (at Long Bay on December 29, 2015).

A rally was held today Thursday 22nd December 2016 in Sydney.

It involved a march from Central Station (Country Trains) to Department of Corrective Services in Lee Street Sydney City

The walk stopped at Harry Deane Building at 20 Lee Street Sydney – about 200 metres from Central Station

Speaking was Leetona Dungay (the mother of David Dungay). Many other Dungay relatives were in attendance.

Leetona Dunga’s speech notes include details about his death (restraint asphyxia when held face down into a mattress by guards at Long Bay).

NSW Police and Department of Corrective Services have issued reports concluding that there was nothing suspicious about David Dungay’s death.

There is also a candlelight vigil at Town Hall on 29 December to mark the passing of a year since David Dungay’s unnecessary death.

The matter is still before the Coroner and has not been listed. It will probably get a hearing late 2017 or early 2018.

The lawyers for the case are Duncan Fine and Professor George Newhouse of the National Justice Project.

Speech by Leetona Dungay at Sydney rally on 22 December 2016.

Hello, or as my people say, Ghymaghayal.

First I want to thank the traditional owners of the land where we are right now – the Ghadagal people of the Eora Nation.

I am here today – we are all here today to honour and remember a beautiful young man called David Dungay Junior.

He was my son.

David was a warrior. Like his dad. Like my people from up near Kempsey.

David died in Long Bay Prison Hospital on the evening of 29 January 2015.

He was a Dunghutti man from Kempsey.

It is hard to believe that today in Australia this type of thing is still happening.

But I stand here before you as the mother of a son who was taken away from me when he was still just a kid – when he was just 26 years old.

David was about three weeks away from release on parole at the time of his death.

He had entered the adult prison system at age nineteen and had nearly completed a seven-year sentence.

Memory is very important in all cultures. But especially in our culture. Aboriginal culture.

We have to remember who we are as a people.

David Junior was born on 2 October 1989 in Kempsey. His early life was tough but he was very loved by his close-knit family.

David Junior enjoyed schooling, music and was an excellent sportsman.

At about age six he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. But the Durri Aboriginal Medical Service in Kempsey looked after him.

David Jnr took responsibility and looked after himself and his diabetes and took his own blood sugar levels in the morning and at night. He always carried jelly beans and biscuits so he could look after himself.

But in prison they just don’t look after you properly.

One day a prison officer saw David Jnr eating biscuits in his cell.

The officer, who knew that David Jnr was a diabetic, but still he ordered him to stop eating the biscuits but David was unable to comply with his order.

My son was overpowered and restrained by at least four officers applying force.

Why?

Why is this happening?

Why is this happening in Australia today?

Why are we locking up our proud young Aboriginal men in prison?

How many of them need to die?

This is 2016 – not 1816 or 1916.

We need to get angry.

We need to have our voices heard.

We have lawyers working for us at the National Justice Project in Sydney and we are going to find out. And the people who did this to my son, they are going to be held accountable.

The Aboriginal people of Australia need to take a stand.

Because there’s too many mothers like me who have lost their sons.

This is our land.

No more young Aboriginal men – like my beautiful son David – to die in jail.

And that’s how we can best honour my son’s memory.

I want to thank all the people who have been helping me for a year now since David Junior passed away:

  • The Vocational College
  • Many Rivers
  • Aboriginal Women Prevention Unit
  • Marcy Hoskin
  • Raul Bassi
  • Ken Kenny
  • Elizabeth Jarret
  • Amber Champen

Finally, I want to say it has now been just about one full year since David passed away.

And we are still waiting for all the documents and all the files so that our lawyers can make sure justice is going to be done. But that is going to happen pretty soon. And then next year we are going to get a fair hearing in front of the Coroner and I know the Coroner is going to find out the truth. And the people who did this to David are going to be brought to justice.

All we want is justice.

Thank you.

 

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3 comments

  1. wam

    normally prisoners get good health treatment but my experience is ’73 a very different political era. The illnesses like diabetes, hepatitis and heart/lung ailments need to be routinely understood by guards and prisoners alike. ?Good luck in your endeavours.

  2. paulwalter

    I have been following it for a bit also and remain shocked at the story itself and also the lack of understanding as to how serious it is.

    It is a fearful partner to the Ms Dhu event.

    Nothing has changed since Mulrunji Doomadgee.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Palm_Island_death_in_custody

  3. paulwalter

    Its a pity this didnt get a better response. It equals detention centres as an issue

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