For ten long years the family of Indigenous Australian TJ Hickey have been campaigning for the justice and proper legal punishment of those responsible for his untimely death. They have stood their ground and, now with heavy hearts, prepare for the tenth anniversary rally and march.
On February 14, 2004, 17-year-old TJ Hickey died of wounds after he became impaled on a spiked fence in Redfern.
Redfern police were on active patrol that morning in search of a bag-snatcher. TJ was recognised by a Redfern officer as the young man had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
TJ sped off in an attempt to evade the officer but was confronted by another patrol vehicle which rammed the back wheel of his bike. The boy was thrown from his vehicle and became impaled on the spiked fence.
The reactions at the time of his death spoke volumes about the failure of black-white relations.
Forty police were injured in subsequent street riots by dozens of young Aboriginals who were urged on by what they could see as a battle of race.
The state coroner, John Abernethy, delayed his verdict on the Hickey death, acknowledging that “rushed justice is no justice”. However, Elizabeth Fullerton, SC, believed that police did not contribute directly or indirectly to TJ’s death.
TJ’s mother, Gail Hickey, says she wants “no more excuses, no more denials”.
“There was a pursuit, there was a police action and without that police action, TJ would be near 27 years old today,” she said.
The Hickey family, along with their supporters, including the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), are once again presenting their One Demand.
“We want the plaque, donated by the UTS students, to finally affix to the fence line,” Ms Hickey said.
Ray Jackson, president of the ISJA, called for an apology.
“Along with this small concession we are asking that the NSW parliament must apologise to Gail and the family for TJ’s unlawful killing and the harassment that the family have been subjected to after the tragedy,” he said.
On Friday, February 14, a rally will congregate at the fence line on which TJ was impaled ten years ago, near Phillip and George Streets in Redfern. It will commence at 10.30am and the group will then march to Parliament House on Macquarie Street.
“This time we will not just be marching for justice for TJ, but we don’t want useless promises of reviews, more papers and so on,” Mr Jackson said.
“We are demanding concrete actions that ensure us that the campaign is progressing in a satisfactory manner for the Hickey family.”