A 27-year old Aboriginal man from Gunnedah has died in hospital after tasering and pepper-spraying by police.
Police went to a home in Gunnedah due to a call about concerns over the man’s behaviour. The man was allegedly being aggressive when police tasered and OC (Oleoresin capsicum or pepper) sprayed him. He then lost consciousness.
Police officers performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on the man until paramedics arrived.
He died at the hospital a short time later.
Death after death, with little changes made
A First Nations Death in Custody is a brutal outcome of the under-servicing and over-policing of rural First Nations communities.
If the answer to problems in communities continues to be more police and more punitive policing tactics then nothing will change. It will just mean that more First Nations people will die.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said that this is a crisis.
“Gunnedah, like so much of regional NSW, is struggling with the lack of drug treatment options, not enough Aboriginal community health organizations, and too many police,” he said.
“This is a community that is struggling with intergenerational disadvantage and trauma, and the only response from the NSW government is more police, more First Nations people in prison and more deaths.”
‘If the answer to every social issue in regional NSW is more police then it is inevitable that we will see more First Nations deaths in custody.”
Mr Shoebridge also pointed out the inefficacies of using police officers as the first point in call for mental health incidents.
“Failing to provide this support also leaves police in the unfair position of being first responders for mental health and other incidents where trained health professionals are needed,” Shoebridge said.
“We have another family grieving and asking for answers and we need an independent investigation into the police response including the use of weapons against this young man.”