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Campaign builds to defend persecuted Aboriginal family

Relatives of TJ Hickey, an Aboriginal teenager who died after being impaled on a metal fence post during a police pursuit in Redfern in 2004, say their extended family in western Sydney is being harassed and targeted by police.

On September 21, police turned up at the Riverstone home of one of TJ’s cousins, Tisha Hickey, the morning after her 21st birthday party, wanting to search the home.

Tisha’s cousin Jade Hickey asked police to show a search warrant. Following this a police officer roughly pushed Jade in the chest and from this point on the situation deteriorated. When family members came out to protest this assault, they were arrested.

Family members say police unnecessarily targeted Tisha, “dragged her across the road from her own home, crushed her against the ground, tore off the ring on her belly button, lifted up her skirt and left her with bruises on her stomach, arms and legs.”

While Tisha’s mother Patricia Hickey watched in horror as her daughter was arrested, police threatened to Taser her every time she moved in to help her child. As Jade was arrested, police banged his head against the cement causing bleeding. A friend at the party filmed the arrests and the footage is now accessible on the Sydney Indymedia website.

Five people were arrested on charges of rioting, affray and assault police, including two 16-year-olds.

Family members say police denied medical assistance to two of the people taken into custody. Tisha required treatment for asthma and her Aunt Robyn for diabetes.

Tisha was bruised and traumatised by the raid and found it hard to leave her house for weeks. When she has ventured out, she has been stopped by the same policeman who had his knee on her back while lifting her skirt and touching her. Although she was only a pedestrian, the police insisted on breathalysing her.

Tisha’s mother Patricia Hickey has said, “My family and I have had a lot of harassment from the police since this thing happened to TJ. We’ve had enough. We want it to stop and stop now before another Hickey dies in police custody. Please help us. Enough is enough.”

The first court date for these arrests are on March 23 at Parramatta Court. The Hickey family is asking for supporters to rally outside the court.