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Police back coroner decision on Dhu video

AAP logoAAP 8/09/2016 Rebecca Gredley

WA Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan has backed a coroner's original decision to keep footage of an Aboriginal woman's final hours private.

Ms Dhu, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died in August 2014, two days after being locked up at South Hedland Police Station for unpaid fines totalling $3622, stemming from offences including assaulting an officer.

Mr O'Callaghan said the coroner's initial ruling - that the vision should not be released - was well documented and he had no opposition to it.

"She has control over the vision and she's put forward some good reasons for that and we're not going to second guess anything she's done, so the vision remains secure," he told 6PR radio on Thursday.

His comments are unsurprising given the footage shows police officers failing to provide Ms Dhu with proper assistance, including dragging and carrying her limp body to a police van.

Another clip shows an officer pulling Ms Dhu by the wrist to sit her up before dropping her, causing the 22-year-old to hit her head.

Coroner Ros Fogliani said during the inquest that the footage was distressing and Ms Dhu's privacy outweighed the public interest in the video being released.

But there have been renewed calls from Ms Dhu's family, politicians and the media to have the footage released.

Last month, the senate passed a motion backed by WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert and WA Labor Senator Sue Lines to call on the state government to publicly release the footage.

Premier Colin Barnett said he was not opposed to the footage being released, but it was up to the coroner.

Ms Fogliani is reviewing the matter and will hear submissions later this month.

Ms Dhu died during her third visit to the Hedland Health Campus from staphylococcal septicaemia and pneumonia, following an infection in her fractured ribs that spread to her lungs.

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