Petition Calling For Charges Over David Dungay Jr’s Death In Custody Passes 10,000 Signatures

The family of David Dungay Jr – a Dunghutti man who died in custody in Long Bay prison in late 2015 – has called upon NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman to investigate criminal charges into his death, and action to be taken against those responsible.

In a new petition started by the National Justice Project, the family of the Dungay Jr recognised that images of him have been shared around the world following the similar death of George Floyd. likening them to the death of George Floyd while in police custody – an incident which has seen a US police officer charged for second-degree murder, and three others charged for aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

“We call on the NSW Attorney General to refer the matter to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions and SafeWork NSW to investigate criminal charges under the laws of New South Wales,” the petition reads.

“We call for accountability from police, prisons, medical officers and governments for ALL Black deaths in custody in Australia.

“We call for the implementation of all 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.”

There are direct parallels between Dungay Jr’s death and Floyd’s, the latter of which sparked global protests and riots.

Dungay Jr died face down in a cell at the Long Bay prison hospital, restrained by five employees and sedated. Floyd died after a police offer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes, although the official autopsy – which found he died of cardiopulmonary arrest – does not conclude that it directly caused his death.

Both men were recorded yelling, “I can’t breathe”.

However, while the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck has been charged with second-degree murder, and the three other officers charged with aiding and abetting a second-degree murder, no one has ever been held responsible for David Dungay Jr’s death.

In fact, no one has ever been held responsible for the 432 known Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody.

Now, the more than 11,000 people who have signed the National Justice Project’s petition are hoping to change that.