Here’s Why An Aboriginal Community Is Suing The Australian Government

A class action lawsuit by the Aboriginal community of Palm Island is accusing Queensland Police of racial discrimination.

The roots of the lawsuit dates back to November 19 2004, when Cameron Doomadgee (tribal name: Mulrunji), a resident of Palm Island, Queensland died in police custody.

According to the coroner’s report Mulrunji was brutally bashed by the police who then left the Aboriginal man to die.

The officer was charged for a death in custody but was acquitted by a jury in June 2007.

Mulrunji’s death led to civic outrage and sparked riots that culminated in the razing of the island's police station.

Lex Wotton, one of the protestors was convicted of inciting the riot. He and his supporters claim that the police discriminated against Palm Island residents in their investigation and response to the riots.

Now Lex with Agnes and Cecilia Wotton has launched a class action against the State.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz, one of the solicitors representing the community says the investigation into Mulrinji’s death was “deeply flawed.”

“There was just an extremely heavy-handed response. They sort of sent a SWAT team to occupy the island and went house-to-house pointing guns at children,” he said.

“This wouldn’t have happened anywhere else in Australia except for a remote Indigenous community like Palm Island where the people are powerless and oppressed and they (the police) thought they could get away with it,” he added.

The Queensland Government, however, has rejected the claims that race had any role to play during the course of unfortunate events of 2004.

Unfortunately incidents of racism against the Aborigines are pretty frequent.

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