New row on Palm death
Ex-police chief taken to task
PALM I sland mayor Alf Lacey is fuming over fresh comments by the retired deputy police commissioner who found six police officers should not be disciplined over botched probes into the 2004 Palm Island death in custody of Cameron ‘‘ Mulrunji’’ Doomadgee.
Last week it was revealed t hat retired Queensland deputy police commissioner Kathy Rynders ruled the officers should face only ‘‘ managerial guidance’’.
The ruling flew in the face of a Crime and Misconduct Commission recommen -dation that the officers should face disciplinary action and misconduct charges over t wo f l awed i nvestigations into Mr Doomadgee’s watchhouse death in 2004.
Ms Rynders yesterday criti- cised the commission and defended her decision.
She said the watchdog’s recommendation was built on allegations, emotions and ‘ ‘ i nflammatory l anguage’’ that influenced public opinion.
Cr Lacey yesterday said he was ‘‘extremely disap -pointed’’ at the comments.
He said Ms Rynders should now keep out of the matter and ‘‘ enjoy her retirement’’.
‘‘ It’s just so disappointing that she continues to make a media circus out of a really serious issue,’’ he said.
‘‘ She needs to take responsibility – either put up or shut her mouth . . . in terms of her spat with the CMC and who was right and who was wrong. This is not the issue any more.
‘‘ The issue is that she has published her findings against recommendations ( from the CMC) . . . after she gave bravery awards to the very officers she was supposed to discipline.
‘‘ How is that impartial and transparent?’’
Riots broke out on Palm Island following Mr Doomadgee’s death and the police station was burnt down.
Last week the commission said it was powerless to challenge Ms Rynders’ decision because of a legal loophole.
Ms Rynders yesterday told ABC radio the commission needed to be reviewed by an external body.
‘‘ Clearly in my mind, as a result of having a look at their review into the Palm Island issue, there has been a failure of quality control in that organisation in terms of that report,’’ she said.
‘‘ There has been a failure of corporate governance at the senior level.’’
Ms Rynders said her decision was fair and based on the evidence.
She said she found there was no case t o answer. ‘‘ Many of the allegations could not be substantiated,’’ she said.