Author Topic: Black life worth nothing in Queensland.  (Read 10827 times)

suzette

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Black life worth nothing in Queensland.
« on: December 16, 2006, 09:22:39 AM »
A decision was handed down this week by the Director of Public Prosecutions in Queensland, Australia, that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley had no case to answer in the death of indigenous man, Mulrunji Doomadgee.

In short, Mulrunji died in custody after a scuffle with Snr Sgt Hurley in which four of his ribs were broken and--if you can believe it--his liver was torn in two.  Following the scuffle Hurley neglected to check on the injured Mulrunji in his cell, as regulations (and decency) required him to.

Two of Hurley's mates lead the "investigation" into Mulrunji's death, and neglected to mention the physical conflict in their report.  It was not treated as a possible homocide investigation.  They claimed that he died as a result of a "complicated fall".  Hurley had a nice holiday on full pay while the investigation continued.  

The Deputy Coroner found Hurley responsible for Mulrunji's death.  The decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions, however, decided Hurley had no case whatsoever to answer, despite it being clear that Hurley lied and ommitted evidence.  The Director refuses to give any explanation of the dramatic difference in her findings to that of the Deputy Coroner.  The government is standing behind her.  Apparently, it's time we "moved on".  Hurley is now returning to work, albeit at a new posting, and has not been found to deserve even disciplinary action for his neglecting to check on the deceased man while he was in his care. Hurley has walked away scot free.

Man, this is depressing.  Basically, a man is arrested for swearing, is beaten so badly that a major organ is torn in two, dies, and it's all sweet.  I'm expecting to hear any day that the guy has been given a promotion.  It's a damn disgrace.  And there's a good deal more to the story than I've gone into here.  I really do despair.  It's 2006, and still in a country where we have the infinite leisure to examine ourselves and our actions, a black life is worth nothing to so many.  It's a day of great shame for the entire nation.  Or yet another day of shame, I should say. I can barely think about anything else.

Further details can be found hereand here.

lagatta

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Black life worth nothing in Queensland.
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2006, 10:28:16 AM »
That is horrific, Suzanne. I'm sure there have been equally bad cases concerning police abuse of indigenous people here, but I can't think of any recent ones that are as egregious.

The most recent I recall was the case of several First Nations men left to die of exposure on the Prairies (if I recall, it was in Saskatchewan).
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

skdadl

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Black life worth nothing in Queensland.
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2006, 10:29:19 AM »
Suzette, that is horrible, both stages of that story.

We had a similar story here last year in BC (well, I'm sure we've had many), wherein a young man was arrested by an officious RCMP newbie in town for carrying a drink in public, and then ended up dead (with a bullet in his back, I believe) an hour later after a "scuffle" in the interrogation room. The RCMP investigated themselves as usual and dismissed the case. They seemed insulted at being questioned by reporters, made it clear they did not believe the public had the right to know anything about their investigation.

The dead kid in that case was not an aboriginal, although we've had many cases of proven sadistic treatment of aboriginals by the police, especially the RCMP where they are the provincial police force.

Quite the "scuffles" these are, yes? Liver ripped in two, bullet in the back -- yeah, I'd call those scuffles.

kuri

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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2006, 11:05:10 AM »
Hearing stuff like this makes me nauseous.

While it's less extreme, perhaps, I'm reminded of the "snow walks" (I think that's what they came to be called) in Saskatoon and Regina, where police officers drove young, aboriginal men to isolated fields in winter after arresting them (again, sometimes for as little as being drunk or swearing), taking their warm clothes and leaving them to freeze (nighttime temperature can be between -20 and -50 C). It only became known after one young man made it to a farmhouse and lived to tell his story. Police resisted every attempt at outside investigation into the cases.

anne cameron

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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2006, 01:29:14 PM »
The young man was shot in the back of the head while being released from custody an hour or two after being arrested for having a beer in his hand outside a hockey rink.   First reports suggested he was actually arrested for giving a false name... he thought the cop knew full well who he was and laughingly gave a joke name...and got arrested...in another case a man was shot dead and his family can't even find out in which part of his body he was shot, let alone "why"...years ago Fred Quilt died after encountering two RCMP on a lonely road in Chilcotin country and no charges were laid...we really do need a civilian review board, police investigating police is so obviously foolish

suzette

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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2006, 07:59:12 PM »
Quote from: anne cameron
...we really do need a civilian review board, police investigating police is so obviously foolish
That's exactly it, anne.  Where do they get off, thinking/pretending that the police will investigate their own with any objectivity?

Gigi

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Black life worth nothing in Queensland.
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2006, 03:13:41 AM »
Quote from: kuri
While it's less extreme, perhaps, I'm reminded of the "snow walks" (I think that's what they came to be called)


"Starlight Tours", actually.  I've had long long discussions on this topic with people who sincerely believe themselves not to be racist, and have come to the conclusion that there are just some people who are never going to get it.  I  just can't even think about it anymore because it just makes me loathe all of humanity.

lagatta

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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 04:09:40 AM »
Thanks for that article, Gigi.

An aside, not murderous racism, but odd terminoligy. Here, when the media or police refer to "street gangs", they always mean gangs of young men (most often) and youths "of colour", whether Black (Haitian or BWI origin), Latin American, South Asian, etc etc. They never call the all-white Hells Angels a "street gang", though when I was working in east-end Hochelaga-Maisonneuve they certainly controlled the streets and crime networks along them.

Yeah, there are a lot of cretins who just don't get it. A lot of them seem to write in to the Globe and Mail online, though their comments are more typical of what one would find in the pages of the Toronto and Ottawa Suns.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Gigi

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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2006, 09:33:42 PM »
Oh, when I say, "loathe all of humanity" I mean in a "nuke the entire planet" kind of way.


I'm not exaggerating.

suzette

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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2006, 09:42:45 PM »
A language question from that article that Gigi linked to: people are referred to as "natives".  Is that acceptable language in Canada? I ask because it stood out to me; it's not generally OK to use the term in that way here, so I'm curious to know if this is just one of those cultural quirks.

brebis noire

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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2006, 09:58:38 PM »
Well, natives might be a step up from calling people 'Indians', but I'm not sure how much of a step. I've heard it used in a certain negative tone of voice, but I've also caught myself saying 'Natives' just because that was what I heard when I was growing up, though it feels wrong. Most of the "native" kids I knew were Métis anyways...
 
I'm not sure exactly why, but I'm not comfortable with any of the terms we use to talk about First Nations people, which would probably be the best term - I think? I'm not comfortable with "aboriginals", just a fancy way of saying "native".  

In Quebec, what I hear most often is tribe names, e.g. "les Mohawks", "les Cris", "les Ojibway", "les Montagnais" etc. I feel a bit more comfortable with that, but I'm not sure why.

I need some cultural and linguistic analysis here. Maybe it's because I don't identify with any one culture myself that I have a hard time assigning one to other people.

kuri

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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2006, 10:40:25 PM »
Quote from: Gigi
"Starlight Tours", actually.

Ah, yes, that's the phrase I was looking for!

Quote from: brebis noire
In Quebec, what I hear most often is tribe names, e.g. "les Mohawks", "les Cris", "les Ojibway", "les Montagnais" etc. I feel a bit more comfortable with that, but I'm not sure why.


I think that works when you're referring to a specific nation. I don't know what you say when you're referring to an individual without reference to their specific nation (either because you don't know or because the context is a pan-FN one). A First Nations individual?  :? That's the best I can think of right now, but it sounds a bit awkward.

lagatta

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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2006, 04:32:18 AM »
The most "correct" expression would be an Aboriginal or Indigenous person (one rarely hears Indigenous here outside anthropological and other cultural/scientific circles), which would include not only First Nations (Amerindian) peoples but also Inuit, and Métis according to some definitions - aieee it is too complicated for words.

You can certainly refer to a person as an Innu (Montagnais), Mohawk, Abenaki, Cree person...

Although Native is no longer used in legal or official texts, I know a lot of people who still say they are Natives, with no negative connotation as in colonial Africa, or Oceania. And the cigs are "Native Brand" ;).

Usually racists will talk about those damned Injuns... and a while back, one actually still heard Les maudits sauvages :( around here...

All of which does no good whatsoever if the police constable correctly refers to the person as an Aboriginal before leaving him to die of exposure in -30c weather.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

skdadl

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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2006, 04:42:05 AM »
Some activists still refer to themselves as natives, although there may be a special militancy implied in that usage, some defiance, perhaps? I use aboriginal or First Nations, depending on context.

My memory of the text is shaky, but it seems to me that First Nations was used to include the Inuit, Innu, and Metis peoples as well in the draft of the Charlottetown Accord, a text on which the senior levels of FN organizations had agreed -- although FN peoples broadly voted against the accord, as did so many of the rest of us.

Gigi

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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2006, 05:25:24 PM »
http://www.ncct.on.ca/

I don't tend to use the word "Native" unless it is capped, and followed by "Canadian" or "People", whereas black I tend to use lower case - and followed by "people" as well.

Some I have conversations with really need to be reminded by the explicit use of the word "people".

 

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