The family of 28-year-old Noongar man Jeffrey Winmar have held a vigil for their beloved son, father, uncle, brother, and cousin, who tragically died in police custody in Victoria earlier this month.
Family, friends and supporters gathered at Dardi Munwurro in Preston on Friday 17th November to call for the truth about what happened to Jeffrey.
On Thursday 9th November, Jeffrey was pursued by multiple police units in Reservoir. He was hospitalised after being arrested by police and passed away in hospital on the evening of Saturday 11th November.
This devastating loss is the third Aboriginal death in custody in one month across Australia, with over 550 Black deaths in custody occurring since the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were handed down 32 years ago.
Jeffrey’s family have major concerns about the conduct of the police during the pursuit and his arrest. They are demanding immediate access to police body-worn camera footage and drone footage.
Jeffrey’s family are waiting for answers about what happened to him while they are mourning and grieving their loss.
VALS will continue to support Jeffrey’s family throughout the fight for justice.
Below is a statement from Jeffrey’s father, also named Jeffrey, which was read out at the vigil.
“Last weekend we lost our beloved son, father, uncle, brother, and cousin Jeffrey.
Jeffrey was 28 years old. He was part of a big family, a brother to many. He enjoyed visiting his family, and often called up the family members just to have a chat.
Jeffrey grew up in Perth and moved to Melbourne. When he moved to Melbourne he took on the role of a big brother and protector for younger siblings who lived there.
He had an infectious smile that lit up the room, regardless of the situation. He was a beacon of positivity. He got along with everyone and carried his culture and his strong belief in Christianity with him everywhere he went.
He has a 9-year-old child, also named Jeffrey who he loved very much, as well as his nephews and nieces. He spent a lot of time with them and always stood up for them.
Jeffrey also loved footy. He played a lot of football around here and in Sydney and was a really good player, he got into the WAFL and played for South Fremantle and inspired his brothers and sisters to play too. He was a big Geelong fan.
Jeffrey loved music and was learning to play the guitar. He would play his favourite songs on the guitar to the kids and he loved gospel music.
There is a lot we don’t know about the circumstances leading up to Jeffrey’s passing. We have been told conflicting information and we are waiting for answers about what happened.
With the support of the Aboriginal community in Victoria, Western Australia and across the country, we will fight for justice for our Jeffrey.”