Indigenous racist attack linked to Mulrunji

DIVISIONS created by the death in custody of Palm Islander Mulrunji Doomadgee have resurfaced with the bashing of an indigenous north Queensland man.

Leonard Beckett, 39, was attacked in a Townsville hotel on Friday night, suffering severe swelling and cuts to his face and a broken hand.

Mr Beckett alleges he was attacked by three non-indigenous men who accused him of being Lex Wotton, one of the men charged over the 2005 riots that followed Doomadgee's death in 2004 at the Palm Island police station.

He said the men followed him to the pub's toilets and attacked him after saying they supported Chris Hurley, the police officer who was acquitted of Doomadgee's manslaughter.

Mr Beckett was released from hospital the following day.

His lawyer, Lars Falcongreen from Townsville's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Legal Service, said the attack was racially motivated.

"This is serious because it's so blatant and unprovoked,'' he said.

"The bottom line here is racism and I think it's pretty clear that there's entrenched racism in our community.''

Sen Sgt Hurley, after his acquittal, returned to work on the Gold Coast.

He applied last week to the Townsville District Court to have his involvement in Doomadgee's death struck from the record of a coroner's finding.

Mr Falcongreen said the Hurley case had left a bitter legacy.

"I don't know when there will be a break,'' he said.

"There was always a feeling in the community that if that verdict went the wrong way, it would be the indigenous people jumping up and down and rioting and not accepting it.

"It would seem that mostly the non-indigenous community have been on the offensive.

"There was a call for calm and the indigenous people were calm and accepted the verdict with humility and good grace, but despite that, it seems that they are still being victimised.''

Police have not laid charges in relation to the attack on Mr Beckett.

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