THE death of an Aboriginal man in police custody was avoidable and should not have occurred, Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanagh has said.
The man, known since his death on January 4 as Kwementyaye Briscoe, was arrested in Alice Springs for being excessively drunk.
Mr Cavanagh said police care and supervision of the deceased was ''completely inadequate and unsatisfactory''. Up to 10 police officers had been formally disciplined over failures in relation to Mr Briscoe on the night he died. Mr Briscoe died several hours after his arrest.
Police failed to check on him for two hours and did not seek medical attention for a head wound. The Coroner said the probable cause of death was a combination of being very drunk, positional asphyxia and aspiration, obstructing his airways.