Sunday, December 23, 2012

the tall man (movie)

The 2011 movie about the death of Cameron Doomadgee in police custody on Palm Island was shown on the new NITV channel recently. I haven't read the (award winning) book.

I was persuaded by the movie that Chris Hurley killed Doomadgee and that a cover up was orchestrated and the whole of Queensland Police force voted loudly to support that cover up.

The picture is of Cameron's sister, Elizabeth, who is one of several outspoken and articulate family members featured in the film.

An interesting aspect was that Chris Hurley had worked for many years in a variety of indigenous communities and clearly had done good things in those communities. The only explanation I could think of was that over many years the pressure of working with dysfunction grew on him and eventually he snapped.

The issue of aboriginal community dysfunction, through alcohol abuse, is also covered in the movie. Doomadgee was drunk when he initially swore at Hurley. The indigenous witness, Roy Bramwell, was drunk and his testimony was unreliable.

Cameron’s lawyer Andrew Boe spoke of entering another world unlike any other he had encountered once he arrived on Palm Island and encountered the conditions in which indigenous people lived. In that sense it is a story of double corruption. The other corruption was the failure to deal with the conditions where it became "normal" for aboriginal people to be drunk in the middle of the day.

Good review: Doco raises troubling questions about Palm Island death-in-custody

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