By -

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this story contains the name of a person who has died. 

Indigenous and legal groups are demanding NSW Police release more information about the circumstances of the tragic death of a 16-year-old Indigenous boy, who collided with a police car on the weekend.

Jai Wright, an Indigenous boy from Revesby in Sydney’s south, was reportedly riding a trail motorbike when he collided with an unmarked police car on Saturday morning. He suffered serious head injuries and died shortly afterwards in hospital.

The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT said it hoped for a coronial inquest and independent investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy. A spokesperson told LSJ the organisation was “devastated” by the loss of a young life.

“We are here to support his family in any way we can. They deserve the truth, transparency and accountability. We look forward to the opportunity to get answers through a coronial inquest,” the spokesperson said.

Jai’s father, Lachlan Wright, told media earlier in the week he was confused by two different accounts police gave him – one from a senior officer who told him his son was pursued by police, and another who told him there had been no pursuit and his son had lost control of the motorbike.

“We have been given inconsistent information by police as to what caused Jai’s death,” Mr Wright said. “Any parent wants to know how their little boy has died. That is why we are calling for an entirely independent inquiry away from the police.”

Redfern Legal Centre (RLC) has called on NSW Police to urgently release its “Safe Driving” policy following the tragedy.

“Police motor vehicle incidents often occur in the context of police pursuits, and continue to have horrific consequences, impacting many including young people, innocent bystanders, ambulance services, witnesses, and even police themselves. But the NSW Police Safe Driving policy remains shrouded in secrecy and hidden from public scrutiny,” the head of RLC’s Police Accountability Practice Samantha Lee said.

“NSW State Coroners have made numerous recommendations about safe driving in the context of police pursuits, but we still don’t know if NSW Police acted on these recommendations,” Lee said.

“This tragic accident highlights again the urgent need to inform the public about whether any of the NSW State Coroners’ recommendations about safe driving have been adopted.”

In 2016, the NSW Coroner recommended that NSW Police review its policy of police pursuits in light of international experience and research that showed them to be extremely risky and not adequately successful in terms of catching criminals.

A question mark remains over whether Jai Wright’s death will be counted as a death in custody. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, more than 500 Indigenous Australians have died in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission into the issue published its final report and made 339 recommendations to save lives.

Jai’s family have asked for privacy while they plan his funeral, and said it is not currently affiliated with any march, rally or fundraiser. However, the family has forecast it plans to organise a protest march in the days and weeks after the funeral.

Feature image: Jai Wright makeshift memorial in Redfern. Photo credit: Thomas Wright/Facebook.