Singer Releases Protest Anthem For Aboriginal Woman Who Died In Jail

"Every black death in custody's a blight on our soul," and "will we ever see a cop locked up for negligence?" read the lyrics of the song.

Australian musician Felix Riebl has released a powerful musical anthem dedicated to the late Yamatji woman, Julieka Dhu, who died under deplorable condition in custody.

The video uses news footage of the coronial inquest into Dhu's death, as well as the CCTV footage from the prison itself.

It's hard to forget the disturbing CCTV footage of the now-deceased 22-year-old Julieka Dhu's treatment while in custody.

The indigenous Australian woman was locked up by police for unpaid fines $2,626 in South Hedland, Western Australia.

Dhu complained of pain in her ribs. The officers believed she was "faking it," calling her a "junkie."

She was taken to the hospital at least twice, but coroner Ros Fogliani reported a chest X-ray was not performed nor was her temperature taken.

“Errors were made and there was a missed opportunity to treat Ms. Dhu for her infection,” Fogliani said, adding the woman’s treatment was “unprofessional” and “inhumane.”

The third time she was taken to hospital, the police told the nurse she was faking it.

Less than an hour later, she died of complications relating to septicaemia and pneumonia.

Now, Felix Riebl, best known as front-man of the band the Cat Empire, has paid not only a tribute to Dhu but raised his voice against the mistreatment she had to endure.

In doing so, he also shows the prevalent and utter discrimination the aboriginals in Australia live (and indeed) die with.

"I wanted to write a very, very political song because I thought these girls that I was working with were not much younger than Ms. Dhu was," he said.

"And if they were in a situation like her, it could happen to them and I thought we had to write a song about it."

The song "Ms. Dhu" contains powerful lyrics highlighting institutional racism and police brutality in Australia.

"Ms. Dhu died too young 22 / when they carried her like a dead kangaroo / from the cell back to the same hospital / who'd assumed that her pain must be invisible," Riebl sings.

The song and video were created in cooperation with Dhu's family and the proceeds from the song will go to her family.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters

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