• Anzac Sullivan passed away in the New South Wales town of Broken Hill following a police chase. (Supplied: Aboriginal Legal Service)Source: Supplied: Aboriginal Legal Service
Anzac Sullivan died after a police pursuit in Broken Hill last week. It's the third Aboriginal death in custody in New South Wales in less than a month.
Jodan Perry

25 Mar 2021 - 10:21 AM  UPDATED 25 Mar 2021 - 10:55 AM

There's calls for an urgent independent investigation into the death of a Barkindji man following a police chase in outback New South Wales last week.

Anzac Sullivan died after being pursued by police in Broken Hill on Thursday March 18. It's the third Aboriginal death in custody in the state in less than a month, and the fourth nationally.

The 37-year-old's sister Donna said he was a "loved brother, nephew, son and uncle."

"He was loved by many in his community and he will be missed," she said.

The New South Wales Police said a critical incident investigation has been launched following his death.

In a statement, they said officers on the day attended an address in the town over an outstanding warrant.

"It is alleged the 37-year-old man ran from police. A short time later patrolling officers were alerted to a male suffering a medical episode nearby," it read.

"Police commenced CPR on the man before he was taken to Broken Hill Hospital and declared deceased."

The Aboriginal Legal Services NSW/ACT want an independent inquiry.

“We are calling for Anzac’s death to be investigated urgently by an independent body, and for this investigation to be transparent and accountable to Anzac’s family and the Broken Hill Aboriginal community,” said ALS Principal Solicitor Sarah Crellin.

“Any death in custody is an absolute tragedy, and our hearts go out to the Sullivan family and their community. We are devastated and furious that another precious life has been lost,

“For four deaths to occur in the space of a little over a fortnight is a huge red flag that something is seriously wrong with police and corrections systems in Australia." 

Earlier this month, a 35-year-old Aboriginal man died in Sydney's Long Bay jail hospital after being found unresponsive in his cell.

A 44-year-old woman died in Silverwater women's prison three days later.

The two deaths were publicly disclosed only after the state's Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin was grilled during a state parliamentary budget estimates session by Greens MP David Shoebridge.

April 15 will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of the final report from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Few of the 339 recommendations from the findings have been implemented, and nearly 500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody since.

'Our kids fear them': police relations must change, says mother of drowning victim
In 2018, two friends drowned in WA's Swan River while fleeing police. A coronial inquest is examining whether the authorities actions on the day contributed to, or caused, the boys' deaths. Whatever the result, parents and advocates say relations between police and Indigenous youth must change.
Calls for action after three deaths in custody in a week
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services calls for urgent action following three deaths in custody in the space of a week, while an inquest into the death of a Queensland man will examine police use of a controversial neck hold.