An Indigenous woman has died while being held in the custody of Queensland police.
The woman, aged 49, was being held in a Brisbane watchhouse, waiting to be transferred to a correctional facility. She was found dead in her cell on Wednesday.
She had been arrested on Sunday and appeared at the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.
The woman’s death is being investigated by police from the Ethical Standards Command.
Debbie Kilroy, a leading advocate for the human rights of women and girls in the criminal legal system and the CEO of Sisters Inside, has said she spent Wednesday afternoon with the other women currently in the watchhouse to support them.
“The grief is overwhelming,” Kilroy wrote on Twitter.
“When will the deaths end? When will trauma end? When will #BlackLivesMatter.”
RIP Aunty Sherry 💔 Aunty died in the watchhouse this morning. I spent the afternoon with the other women in the watchhouse to support them during this traumatic time. The grief is overwhelming. When will the deaths end? When will trauma end? When will #BlackLivesMatter #freeher— Debbie Kilroy (@DebKilroy) September 10, 2020
Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody ended in 1991, there have been more than 430 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have died in police custody.
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Are we ok? No we are not. Another life lost in custody. I have no words. We have all said it loudly. We’ve all said it differently. Yet nothing is changing. The systems remain the same, consequently maintaining the damage of colonization and continuing to prey and benefit on our trauma. #stopblackdeathsincustody #blacklivesmatter #justiceforourmob
In the past four months, there have been five Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia.
Terrible. This would be the 5th Indigenous death in custody in #Australia in just the past 4 months (past 4 have all occurred in Western Australia, 3 have been Indigenous men, 1 woman was a Torres Strait Islander) #DeathInCustody https://t.co/NjiaIUKcSH— Sophie McNeill (@Sophiemcneill) September 10, 2020