The Tall Man by Chloe Hooper was my best read of the summer holidays, a book I could not put down. If you love court room type investigative dramas you will love this true story.
On the 19th November 2004, Cameron Doomadgee swore at a police officer. The 36-year-old aboriginal resident of Palm Island off the coast of Queensland near Townsville was arrested by Christopher Hurley and 40 minutes later was found dead in a cell of the local police station.
In January 2007 Hurley was charged with manslaughter, the first Australian police officer to be charged over a death in custody. He was acquitted in June 2007.
With such a controversial subject, it is a pleasant surprise to discover that Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man Penguin, 2008 handles the matter with such restrained sensitivity and intelligence. (source)
I wept as I read the last chapter of this brilliant book. I know a country copper, a tall , big guy, who I know ‘roughs up’ people a bit, could he do something like this when his temper is pushed to the limit? Would you? Would I? But more than all these questions about our temper and what it can produce, I was challenged by white Australia’s attitude to our indigenous people, the first Australians. Sadly the verdict was handed down just 24 hours before Howard marched the army into the Northern Territory as part of that government’s intervention and ‘answer’ to The Little Children are Sacred report, so most of the drama of it all was lost, but I do remember the news about the riots in 2004 and subsequent reports.
Can I again recommend, for all those who think I may be a bit biased towards Australian Aboriginals, the SBS series The First Australians. You can watch online at http://www.sbs.com.au/firstaustralians/
Oh and – Read The Tall Man