The family of Tanya Day read the following statement on Friday 13 September 2019.
“We just gave evidence in a coronial inquest into our mother’s death in police custody. No children should have to do this. Our mum should have never been subject to racial discrimination and denied her dignity and right to life.
This process has been painful, gruelling and extremely traumatic for our family and our community.
We’ve heard the evidence from Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and V/Line. Victoria Police have repeatedly said that nothing has changed and no review has happened as a result of mum’s death. We find this deeply offensive. Victoria Police must take responsibility for Aboriginal people dying in their custody.
It is clear to us that the investigation into our mum’s death has been flawed and inadequate. This is because police should not be investigating police.
We have had a coronial investigation – but what we now want is a criminal investigation. We want to know whether the police who should have cared for mum, committed an offence in denying mum her dignity and ultimately, her life.
We want to say thank you to all of our supporters.
We want to thank Emma Matheson, Sarah Holland and Michael Stevenson from Ambulance Victoria for their truthful evidence and heartfelt apologies.
We note that V/Line has not apologised for the role their conduct played in our mum’s death.
We note that Victoria Police has not apologised to us or the Aboriginal community for Aboriginal deaths in custody or failing their duty of care for our mum.
We want to acknowledge the Victorian Government’s commitment to repealing the offence of public drunkenness, but now we need action. We need this dangerous offence to be repealed so that no other Aboriginal people die in custody.
Our mum was a proud Yorta Yorta mother, grandmother, auntie and activist. She was passionate about her family, community and she is missed every single day.
She had so much more life and love to give.
Our mother, Tanya Day, can and never will be defined by what was done to her to cause her death in police custody. Tanya Day will also never be confined or defined by this coronial process.”
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Photo credit: Charandev Singh