• Community march through the streets of Brisbane for the death in custody of Aunty Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo, Sept 18. (Douglas Smith)Source: Douglas Smith
The family of Birri Gubba woman Aunty Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo are still seeking answers despite the suspension of an officer who was on duty the morning she was found dead at the Brisbane City Watchhouse.
Douglas Smith

23 Sep 2020 - 1:46 PM  UPDATED 24 Sep 2020 - 12:53 PM

The family of Birri Gubba woman, Aunty Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo have reacted to the suspension of an officer who was on duty during her death at the Brisbane City Watchhouse, saying the Queensland Police Service had failed in their "duty of care". 

Ms Fisher-Tilberoo, who was on remand awaiting a transfer to a women's correctional facility was found unresponsive in her holding cell on the morning of September 10.

Immediately after her death, the Ethical Standards Command launched an investigation, which has now taken action to suspend an assistant watch house officer. 

Speaking to the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association 98.9 FM on Tuesday, nephew of Ms Fisher-Tilberoo, Troy 'Jungaji' Brady questioned why his aunt remained locked up instead of being transferred to hospital for her "underlying" health issues.

“How come she was there? Why wasn’t she in a hospital?," he said.

“If you got a person that has underlying issues or is a higher risk to some degree, you gotta check, you have to use a torch and you have to physically make eyesight you know.

“It doesn't matter whether you’re black, white, brown brindle or in between, they have a duty of care to ensure the livelihood and the safety of the people that are brought into their service."

Mr Brady said the family were pleased to see that there was some accountability, but they say the watch house officer was being used as a “scapegoat” for a much larger and ongoing problem. 

"It's a broader and wider issue about their policies and procedures in terms of engaging in your work and locking up blackfullas," he said. 

“What we’re hearing from the other girls in the pod, it’s like, we’ve got a lot of questions and we need answers.

“I’ve lost a beautiful Aunty. We’re seeking justice...true justice. We’re gonna seek more information. It doesn’t stop here.”

Family of Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo remember her as a woman with a 'loving and infectious' personality
The family of Birri Gubba woman, Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo, who died in police custody on Thursday last week, remember her as having a "loving and infectious" personality and being loved by many in the Brisbane Black community.

On Monday, Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner, Brian Codd addressed a media conference following QPS's decision to suspend the officer pending the investigation.  

“This suspension relates to allegations of failure of duty in relation to regular physical checks on prisoners in the watch house and related record-keeping," said Mr Codd. 

"There's a period of somewhere between five and six hours that we're talking about where the issue around the appropriate combination of viewing what's occurring in cells from CCTV footage is married up with protocols around the physical checking that happens in cells, and that’s the matter that’s under particular scrutiny.”

The investigation into Ms Fisher-Tilberoo's death by the Ethical Standards Command is still ongoing. 

Watch house officer suspended over the death of Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo
The Queensland Police Service suspends City Watch House officer over the recent death in custody of Birri Gubba woman, Sherry Fisher-Tilberoo.