Tanya Day, 05.12.2017. Died in custody – Victoria

December 5, 217, Victoria
55. Arrested for drunkenness : died in custody after hitting her forehead on the cell wall…

The inquest into the death in custody of Aboriginal woman Tanya Day has been shown footage of her hitting her forehead on the cell wall less than a minute after she was checked by police.

That impact, which occurred shortly before 5pm, caused a brain haemorrhage but was undetected until 8.03pm, when police noticed a lump on her head and called an ambulance. The 55-year-old Yorta Yorta woman died in hospital 17 days later.

CCTV footage played in court on Monday shows that Tanya hit her head five times while in holding cell one at Castlemaine police station on 5 December 2017.

It also showed police straightening cushions before they approached Tanya when they entered the cell at 8.03pm, and bend over her for several seconds before lifting her back on to the bench and covering her with a blanket.

The first fall was at 4.20pm, just 25 minutes after she was left alone in the cell to “sober up” after being arrested for public drunkenness.

It shows she hit the back of her bed after falling back when sitting down on the bed, after roaming unsteadily around the cell. At 4.44pm she stands up, walks unsteadily towards the water fountain on the cell wall, then stumbles backward, hitting the back of her head again as she fell on the bed.

Police guidelines state that intoxicated people should be subject to a physical cell check every 30 minutes, but sergeant Edwina Neale told the inquest she requested 20-minute checks because Day was “more vulnerable”.

Neale said that was then changed to a physical check every 40 minutes, with a check on CCTV monitors in between, because Wolters told her that Day was “becoming a bit distressed and asking to go home and he felt she would be better if she was left to sleep a bit longer in between checks”.

Cairnes initially told the inquest that he saw Day standing in the cell as Wolters called out: “Tanya, are you OK?”

Due to the thickness of the cell walls, he said, he did not hear what Day said in response, but he said she did give a verbal response and Wolters “seemed satisfied by that”.

Physical violence
 Kicks, punches, slaps
 Feet / knees on the nape of the neck, chest or face
 Blows to the victim while under control and/or on the ground
 Blows to the ears
 Strangulation / chokehold
 Painful armlock
 Fingers forced backwards
 Spraying with water
 Dog bites
 Hair pulling
 Tirage par les cheveux
 Painful tightening of colson ties or handcuffs
 Painfully pulling by colson ties or handcuffs
 Use of gloves
 Use of firearm
 Use of “Bean bags” (a coton sack containing tiny lead bullets)
 Use of FlashBall weapon
 Use of sound grenade
 Use of dispersal grenade
 Use of teargas grenade
 Use of rubber bullets weapon (LBD40 type)
 Use of batons
 Use of Pepper Spray
 Use of Taser gun
Psychological violence
 Charge of disturbing public order
 Charge of rebellion
 Accusation of beatings to officer
 Charge of threatening officer
 Charge of insulting an officer
 Threat with a weapon
 Aggressive behaviour, disrespect, insults
 Calls to end torment remained unheeded
 Sexist remarks
 Homophobic remarks
 Racist comments
 Violence by fellow police officers
 Passivity of police colleagues
 Lack or refusal of the police officer to identify him or herself
 Vexing or intimidating identity check
 Intimidation or arrest of witnesses
 Prevented from taking photographs or from filming the scene
 Refusal to notify someone or to telephone
 Refusal to administer a breathalyzer
 Refusal to fasten the seatbelt during transport
 Refusal to file a complaint
 Refusal to allow medical care or medication
 Lies, cover-ups, disappearance of evidence
 Undress before witnesses of the opposite sex
 Bend down naked in front of witnesses
XLack of surveillance or monitoring during detention
 Lack of signature in the Personal Effects Register during detention
 Confiscation, deterioration, destruction of personal effects
 Pressure to sign documents
 Absence of a report
 Deprivation during detention (water, food)
 Inappropriate sanitary conditions during detention (temperature, hygiene, light)
 Complacency of doctors
 Kettling (corraling protestors to isolate them from the rest of the demonstration)
 Prolonged uncomfortable position
  • 22.12.2017 – Death of Tanya
  • 05.12.2017 – Arrest of Tanya
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