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Compensation sought in Qld custody death

The family of an indigenous man who died soon after he was allegedly spear-tackled and manhandled by North Queensland police will seek compensation, their lawyer says.

Officers were told Trevor King, now referred to as Noomba, had a heart condition and history of substance abuse before "trouncing" him after he left his Townsville home on Saturday.

The family's Sydney-based lawyer, Stewart Levitt, said his clients would seek compensation after witnessing his death.

Police were called by Noomba's wife Regina Matheson in the early hours of Saturday morning because he was talking of suicide.

"Police and ambulance officers knew that Noomba had a pre-existing heart condition before police allegedly used excessive force against him," Mr Levitt said.

"This is not the way you deal with a sick man who was not threatening police, or anyone else, and who was not acting aggressively.

Mr Levitt said Noomba was repeatedly told that he was not under arrest during the incident.

Police on Saturday said Noomba lost consciousness and died soon after he was taken into custody around 1.20am.

"An ambulance was present at that time and despite extensive attempts by police and paramedics to revive the man prior to his transport to Townsville Hospital, unfortunately those attempts were unsuccessful," Chief Superintendent Kevin Guteridge said.

The incident is under investigation by ethical standards command, under the supervision of the coroner, and Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia

Local Aboriginal Medical Service details available from

© AAP 2018

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