Photo credit: ABC four corners
A juvenile detention centre officer urinated in a toilet and told a boy to drink it after he asked for a drink of water a Royal Commission community meeting was told on Tuesday.
The meeting that is being held in Maningrida on the Northern coastline of the Northern Territory heard from a number of local residents who have called for changes in detention procedures for indigenous Australian’s.
Resident’s want more control over their own affairs including giving the chance for those in juvenile detention to complete their sentence’s in their own communities on farms as to be in touch with their culture.
“These kids have learned white man’s law, white man’s culture. They forget their Aboriginal culture … and it’s hard for them to catch up.” Baru Pascoe a local community leader said.
Later on in the meeting, one man said a relative of his that was detained at Don Dale, whilst watching the Four Corners program on the mistreatment of indigenous youth, said he recongnised the centre, “I know that place”.
He said the boy who was a “bush kid” with only limited understanding of the big city institutions told him that he had been tied with his legs spread apart for over two hours and after asking for a drink of water was told to drink toilet water that the officer had urinated in.
Another time he’d requested a blanket and was given one which “smelled of shit and urine”, the man claimed.
Hours before the meeting, Pascoe attempted to drum up support by walking the streets of Maningrida with a megaphone.
Despite having a population of 3,000 people there was only a few dozen in attendance at the community meeting.
“You gotta remember that Four Corners program,” he shouted. “What they did to those boys and girls. Some of those boys and girls were from Maningrida.”
Many were away at spiritual get together’s or at funerals. However there were others who ween’t remotely interested in being involved at the community meeting.
“Someone should go and close that shop,” said one older woman in anger.
Pascoe said he and others were upset at the Northern territory government for taking so little action on the issues.
“To us, the corrections system, Don Dale, the adult prison, lot of policies have been breached,” he said.
Commissioners Mick Gooda and Margaret White told the Maningrida meeting that they would make recommendations to keep the government accountable but stressed it would have to be the community that had to drive the change.
“We’ll make the bullets for you, in those recommendations, but it’s you who’s got to fire them at government and keep them accountable,” he said.