Re­trac­ing a tragedy

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

THIS sober­ing and com­pelling doc­u­men­tary is based on the award- win­ning book of the same name by Chloe Hooper.

Film­maker Tony Krawitz takes a long, hard and of­ten wor­ry­ing look at an in­dige­nous death in cus­tody that dom­i­nated head­lines in Queens­land for sev­eral years.

What ex­actly hap­pened to Cameron Doomadgee for the brief pe­riod while he was un­der po­lice ar­rest on Palm Is­land in 2004 re­mains a mys­tery, even now.

Sev­eral peo­ple were present on the fate­ful day when Doomadgee ( pic­tured above right) ar­rived at the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion, hav­ing been hauled in for swear­ing at the ar­rest­ing of­fi­cer, Se­nior Sergeant Chris Hur­ley.

The pair were seen to scuffle briefly. Hur­ley, a tall and heavy set type, soon had the up­per hand in the con­test.

Doomadgee was taken to a hold­ing cell. About 45 min­utes later he was dead from in­ter­nal in­juries. One ob­server of the case likened the in­juries to those sus­tained by a pas­sen­ger in a plane crash.

The im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the in­ci­dent still bog­gles the mind. The po­lice sta­tion was not deemed a crime scene. The han­dling of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the dis­cred­it­ing of key wit­nesses were highly du­bi­ous, to say the least.

As The Tall Man delves deeper into the case, the hopes of jus­tice be­ing seen to be done grow fainter.

As re­cently as last year, the le­gal sys­tem was still throw­ing its hands in the air with Queens­land’s courts ( which found Hur­ley not guilty on a charge of man­slaugh­ter) com­pletely at odds with the view of the state coro­ner.

Nev­er­the­less, the im­pact of Doomadgee’s tragic death and what it con­tin­ues to say about race re­la­tions in this coun­try is driven home pow­er­fully by Krawitz.

Now show­ing State Cinema

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