A campaign was launched on January 12 to draw attention to police harassment of an Aboriginal family in western Sydney. In addition to the distribution of a press release detailing several arrests police conducted during the course of a 21yo family member’s birthday party, the campaign has also released a video, one which documents both the arrests and alleged police assaults upon the 21yo and other family members:
The press release which accompanies the video, and which includes a number of stills, can be found @ Sydney Indymedia. After detailing the events of September, the press release goes on to argue that the family in question is subject to continued harassment on account of their continued efforts to obtain justice for TJ Hickey.
So why would Riverstone Police want to pick on an innocent family peacefully going about their own lives? Well, you see, as far as bigoted police are concerned Tisha’s family have a problem … they are Aboriginal. As the enforcers of an unfair social order that is geared to only serve the big business elite and which was founded on the dispossession of Aboriginal people, Australian police are often hostile to the poor and are notorious for downright brutality towards Aboriginal people. Furthermore, NSW police have a special hatred for Tisha’s family as they are Hickeys, close relatives of TJ Hickey the 17 year-old boy who was killed by racist police in February 2004 after they chased him through the streets of Redfern when he was riding his bicycle. As a result of their defiant refusal to abandon the quest for justice for their beloved TJ, the Hickeys, from Redfern to Riverstone, have faced police harassment over the last six and a half years.
TJ’s death triggered a small riot in Redfern. A centre of urban Aboriginal life for many decades, currently ‘The Block’ in Redfern is undergoing redevelopment (see : Friday deadline on the Block, but last residents are refusing to go, Matt Khoury, The Sydney Morning Herald, November 15, 2010). Most recently, “CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC), Mick Mundine, has expressed frustration with his lack of success in obtaining funding for the redevelopment of The Block. On Monday, the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) rejected Mr Mundine’s application for funding” (Funding for The Block rejected again, Sophie Cousins, Alternative Media Group, January 13, 2011). You can watch Ray Jackson of the Indigenous Social Justice Association talk about TJ and the riots @ Engagemedia.