You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Tough for police in Ms Dhu video: Barnett

AAP logoAAP 18/12/2016 Greg Roberts

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says the police seen on controversial security footage manhandling dying 22-year-old Aboriginal woman Ms Dhu were in a difficult situation but her death should not have occurred.

WA Coroner Ros Fogliani on Friday publicly released the vision of the lead-up to Ms Dhu's August, 2014 death.

She also released an inquest finding that Ms Dhu's death could have been prevented if medical staff and police had treated her humanely, acted professionally, had empathy and taken her complaints of pain seriously rather than dismissing her as being drug affected.

The footage has caused distress and anger, leading to accusations of racism, showing police dragging and carrying a limp and barely conscious Ms Dhu while she was in agony to a police van.

She died on her third visit to the Port Hedland hospital in as many days while in custody from complications caused by an infection that started in a broken rib caused by her boyfriend Deon Ruffin.

"Yes (I have seen the vision). It is very confronting to most people," Mr Barnett told reporters on Sunday.

"While that should never have happened, I don't excuse it, it was a difficult situation police were facing then, a lot of aggression and the like.

"So I don't excuse or condone in any way what happened but we also need to have acknowledgment for the reality of the situation police were facing."

Ms Fogliani made a raft of recommendations including ending the practice of locking up people because of unpaid fines, which was the reason for the arrest of Ms Dhu, who owed $3622.

However, Ms Dhu's family were angry and emotional on Friday that the coroner has not recommended police or medical staff be sacked or face criminal charges over their actions during the three days she was locked up.

Mr Barnett said he would wait for advice from his Attorney-General Michael Mischin before deciding whether to implement all of the coroner's recommendations on the treatment of detainees, particularly Aboriginals.

He said he hoped to reduce persistently high imprisonment rates and deaths in custody for Aboriginals after previously promising the Dhu family he would commit to working on that.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon