• Della Roe, mother of Ms Dhu outside the coroner's court in Perth on Friday, Dec 16, 2016. (AAP)
The West Australian coroner has handed down her findings into the causes of Ms Dhu's death.
By
Robert Burton-Bradley

Source:
NITV News
16 Dec 2016 - 8:26 AM  UPDATED 19 Dec 2016 - 9:47 AM

Coroner Ros Fogliani delivered her findings to a packed court room today in Perth and said Ms Dhu's death could have been prevented if she had been given antibiotics, and found police acted unprofessionally and inhumanely.

During the inquest, some police testified they thought Ms Dhu was faking illness and was coming down from drugs, while some medical staff also thought she was exaggerating.

CCTV of Ms Dhu's final days released by the WA coroner
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: The WA coroner has decided to release footage of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody, granting her grieving family their wishes. Some people may find this video distressing

Coroner Fogliani said on Friday that Ms Dhu's death could have been prevented if her illness had been diagnosed days earlier.

CCTV of Ms Dhu's final days released by the WA coroner
GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: The WA coroner has decided to release footage of an Aboriginal woman who died in police custody, granting her grieving family their wishes. Some people may find this video distressing

She said Ms Dhu's treatment was unprofessional and inhumane.

Ms Dhu, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died two days after being locked up at South Hedland Police Station in August 2014 for unpaid fines totalling $3622.

Ms Fogliani made several recommendations in her findings and also agreed to release footage showing Ms Dhu's final hours, except for vision of her moments before death.

Some footage shows police dragging and carrying Ms Dhu's limp body to a police van.

Another clip shows an officer pulling Ms Dhu by the wrist to sit her up before dropping her, causing Ms Dhu to hit her head.

Earlier, Ruth Barson from the Human Rights Law Centre told reporters outside court it should be a day of reckoning.

"The brutality of her death is inexcusable," she said

Ms Barson said there had been a cascading series of failures by police and hospital staff.

"She was treated in cruel and inhumane ways by those who had a duty of care to look after her," she said.

"She was dismissed, ignored, neglected and denied her basic human rights."

Ms Dhu's grandmother Carol Roe became emotional talking about the long wait it had been for the family.

'Australians need to see this footage'

More than two years a young Yamatji woman was dragged lifeless into the Hedland Health Campus in handcuffs. Her heart had already stopped by the time she was taken to the emergency room and a short time later she was pronounced dead.

An autopsy found her death was partly caused by complications from a previous rib fracture, which became infectious and spread to her lungs, as well as from pneumonia and septicaemia. 

Yesterday her grandmother Carol Roe urged the coroner to make the footage publicly available.

"I hope the Coroner hands down the truth. Then we will feel like there has been some justice. Then we can put my girl to rest," said Ms Roe.

"People need to see with their own eyes how my girl was treated. All Australians need to see this footage - we all need to stand together and say enough is enough, no more Aboriginal deaths in custody."

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Western Australia continues to have the highest Aboriginal imprisonment rates in Australia.

Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre Ruth Barson, who has been providing legal support to the Dhu family, said the West Australian Government continued to imprison people for unpaid fines, a policy that affects Aboriginal women disproportionately. 

"Ms Dhu should have never been taken into custody and she certainly should not have died such a cruel death. Western Australia desperately needs to fix its over-imprisonment crisis, and to change its fines laws to be fair and flexible," said Ms Barson.

Why did she die? Ms Dhu's family anxiously await coronial findings
Today, more than two years since Ms Dhu died in agonising pain, the West Australian Coroner Ros Fogliani will release her findings into the death.

"We owe it to Ms Dhu and her family to stand by their side and demand accountability and change. Australia cannot ignore how this young woman was treated," said Ms Barson.

 With AAP