Australia

Tanya Day inquest: Officer in case was Aboriginal liaison

Tanya Day passed away in December 2017 after being arrested for public drunkenness Source: Supplied

A Victorian policeman who took Tanya Day into custody after she was arrested for being drunk was named the Aboriginal liaison officer just a week before.

A policeman who took Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day into custody when she was arrested for public drunkenness had volunteered to be the Aboriginal liaison officer just a week earlier.

The 55-year-old died from a brain haemorrhage suffered in police custody in December 2017 after being taken off a train at Castlemaine, north of Melbourne, because she was intoxicated.

Seven days before Ms Day was arrested, Leading Senior Constable Matthew Fitzgibbon had volunteered to be the police Aboriginal liaison officer for the Macedon region.

"I straight away put my hand up and nominated for it," Sen Const Fitzgibbon said at an inquest into Ms Day's death on Thursday.

He was appointed to the role but had not received any training for the position when he crossed paths with Ms Day.

He later relinquished the role.

"I didn't feel it would be appropriate given I had been involved in a death in custody to continue the role," he said.

CCTV footage of Ms Day at the police station was played at the inquest on Thursday.

It showed the grandmother crying and unsteady on her feet.

The coroner is examining whether racism contributed to Ms Day's death.

Witnesses including another police officer and a train driver are expected to give evidence when the inquest resumes on Friday.

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