Palm Island Killer Cop Questioned Over Violent Arrest

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A police officer who beat an Aboriginal man to death on Palm Island just over a decade ago after arresting him for swearing, has been questioned in a Queensland court over his use of force after a man allegedly swore at him on the Gold Coast.

Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court today where he was questioned over allegations he put Luke Cole in a “choke hold” before he arrested him.

Cole is accused of assaulting Snr Sgt Hurley after he allegedly swore at the police officer in an incident in Robina on November 15 last year, the Courier Mail reported. He has plead not guilty.

According to the Courier Mail, Snr Sgt Hurley attended the scene of a traffic accident when he heard Cole yell an offensive word from his car. The newspaper reported after Snr Sgt Hurley drove after the car and stopped it, Cole allegedly admitted he had said the offensive word.

After he asked Cole to get out of the vehicle, Snr Sgt Hurley told the court “he came at me and I pushed him into the chest which slipped straight up on to his neck. I don’t know why but it did, perhaps sweat”.
Snr Sgt Hurley then told the court there was a scuffle after he held Cole up against the car with his hand around his collarbone and was overpowered, according to the Courier Mail.

Snr Sgt Hurley denied he was angry in cross examination and that he had placed Cole in a chokehold before he was arrested.

The police officer was acquitted of charges of manslaughter over the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee, who died at Palm Island watchhouse in November 2004. He had been arrested for allegedly swearing at Hurley.

The Palm Islander died with a raptured kidney, a liver almost cleaved in two, and a ruptured portal vein. A coronial inquest heard the injuries were like those seen in a high speed car crash or plane crash victim.

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Amy McQuire

A Darumbul woman from central Queensland, Amy McQuire is the former editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine.

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