• The family and supporters of Julieka Dhu outside court in Perth on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Her grandmother Carol Roe (L) and mother Della Roe. (AAP)Source: AAP
The family of Aboriginal woman Ms Dhu, who died in police custody, is launching legal action against the state government.
21 Jul 2017 - 11:07 AM  UPDATED 21 Jul 2017 - 11:07 AM

The family of a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman, who the West Australian coroner ruled was treated inhumanely in the lead up to her death in police custody, is launching legal action against the state government.

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, stemming from charges including assaulting police.

Ms Dhu’s family call for criminal charges against police officers
The family of Indigenous woman, Ms Dhu, who died in police custody in 2014 are demanding legal action against three police officers involved in her death, and against her partner at the time of her death.

Lawyer Stewart Levitt said on Thursday that the family was seeking justice for Ms Dhu in the WA Supreme Court, and would also lodge a complaint of racial discrimination to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

"You need to bring justice to indigenous victims of the criminal justice system," he told ABC radio.

Ms Dhu died during her third visit in as many days to the Hedland Health Campus from staphylococcal septicaemia and pneumonia after an infection in her fractured ribs - caused by her partner - spread to her lungs.

Some police testified during the inquest into her death that they thought Ms Dhu was faking illness and was coming down from drugs, while some medical staff also thought she was exaggerating and had behavioural issues.

Coroner Ros Fogliani found Ms Dhu's death could have been prevented if her illness had been diagnosed earlier and she had been given antibiotics.