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UNHEARD: Indigenous Family Discuss Their Heartbreak Of Losing David Dungay Jr In Police Custody

Stewart Perrie

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UNHEARD: Indigenous Family Discuss Their Heartbreak Of Losing David Dungay Jr In Police Custody

In December 2015, Dunghutti man, David Dungay Jr, died when correctional services staff attempted to remove a packet of biscuits from his holding cell at Long Bay Jail in Sydney Australia.

The 26-year-old Indigenous man was serving a sentence at the prison after being convicted in 2008 of aggravated attempted assault and being party to robbery.

He was just three weeks away from being released on parole when he had the encounter with officers at the correctional facility that would ultimately end his life.

David's final moments have been highlighted in a six-part LADbible Australia x Amazon Prime Video documentary series called UNHEARD, which has been supported by Screen Australia.

The episode focuses on the rate of Indigenous incarceration and deaths in custody in Australia, while also taking a deep dive into the systems in place that perpetuate the issue.

Shocking bodycam footage has revealed the tactics that were used to remove David from his cell where David could be heard screaming 'I can't breathe' as officers told him to stop resisting.

He pleaded 12 times for a chance to breathe.

The 26-year-old eventually went into cardiac arrest and later died.

A review discovered a litany of issues that contributed to his death including use of force and medical procedures not being properly followed.

David's mum, Leetona Dungay explained in the UNHEARD episode how broken she was when she received the news her son had died in prison.

She said she went into the bathroom and 'shouted my pain' alone because she didn't want her family to see her upset.

Leetona described that moment like a knife had gone through her heart and sliced it open.

Credit: LADbible Australia
Credit: LADbible Australia

"No father or mother should ever have to go through that," she said.

She was also shocked at the inquest into David's death not handing down any recommendations for any of the officers to be held criminally responsible.

Leetona Dungay thought the findings were 'appalling' and said she will never be at peace until she gets justice.

Sadly, the UNHEARD episode revealed David's horrible death is one of over 474 Indigenous deaths in custody that have occurred in Australia in the past 30 years.

Despite a Royal Commission into Indigenous deaths in custody handing down dozens of recommendations in 1991 to help change the statistics, the rate of incarceration has actually doubled.

If you want to watch the whole episode and learn more about Australia's systemic and serious problem with deaths in custody, head to Amazon Prime to watch the first episode of UNHEARD.

To support the fight against racial injustice visit ladbible.com/unheard

Featured Image Credit: LADbible Australia

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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