• The Dann family (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The Western Australian Police force has confirmed it's received a formal complaint over the alleged mistreatment of an Indigenous family who were denied access to bottle shops.
By
Stephanie Corsetti

Source:
NITV News
31 Mar 2021 - 3:57 PM  UPDATED 1 Apr 2021 - 11:31 AM

A well-known local Indigenous family is accusing WA police of discrimination, following reports liquor stores in Port Hedland were told to refuse them alcohol service.

Officers reportedly gave the directive to the stores via email in February, while the family were attending a funeral. 

The family's advocate Cherie Slater has told NITV News the family has unresolved issues with the police.

"The email that the Danns got from one of the licensees was very specific about the Dann family and people attending the funeral, and that's just outside the Liquor act" she said.

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In a statement, WA Police said liquor accords were 'voluntary agreements' between the police, health department, liquor industry and local government authorities. 

"This is to help reduce the harm associated with the misuse of alcohol, and to ensure the safety of the wider community," the statement reads. 

But Ms Slater said the conduct was discriminatory and the family was being targeted.

"Not all people who attend funerals wear black and white, our feeling is that they were specifically targeting people who looked Aboriginal... were prominent in their features and they would restrict sales there," she said. 

Ms Slater said the family has been offered a meeting with the local Inspector but they said it hasn't worked in the past.

She said there was an increased police presence at the funeral.

"They were not a respectful or mindful distance away from mourners and they were fully outfitted in their police kit including firearms and tasers," Ms Slater said. 

The Dann family will be hoping the WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson will address the issue. 

"It's just not being treated with the priority that it should, given Aboriginal relations with the police force," she said.