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Police, govt consider Palm Island response

AAP logoAAP 5/12/2016 Stuart Layt

The State Government and the Queensland Police Service are considering their response to the Federal Court finding police were unlawfully discriminatory after a high-profile Aborignal death in custody in 2004.

The court found officers were racist in their response to the death in custody of Cameron (Mulrunji) Doomadgee's death in custody on the island and subsequent riots

Once-jailed rioter Lex Wotton was on Monday awarded $220,000 in damages for the pain endured by early-morning raids involving Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) officers in November 2004.

Mr Wotton, his mother and sister brought the class action on behalf of the entire Palm Island community.

Justice Debbie Mortimer found the police response to the death and riot played out in ways it would not have if the community wasn't predominantly Aboriginal.

"I have found they (police officers) conducted themselves ... with a sense of impunity, impervious to the reactions of Palm Islanders," Justice Mortimer said in a written summary on Monday.

"I have found that police acted in these ways because they were dealing with an Aboriginal community."

Justice Mortimer did not order an apology but directed that the Commissioner of Police be required to consider if one should be made.

Both the state government and the Queensland Police Service released brief statements on Monday saying they will consider their response to the judgment.

The Queensland Police Union has maintained its defence of the officers involved, insisting they were not racist, claiming the response would have been the same if the situation happened in "downtown Brisbane".

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