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”.
|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|
|Fingers forced backwards|
|Spraying with water|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|X||Lack 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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