The Queensland Police Service will appeal against a landmark Federal Court ruling in a discrimination case over a death in custody on Palm Island in 2004.

In December 2016 the Federal Court awarded $220,000 in damages to activist Lex Wotton, after finding police had acted with “a sense of impunity” during the riots that followed the death in custody of Mr Doomadgee.

During the trial last year Mr Wotton argued that the islanders had been racially discriminated against during and after the unrest and that the police had contravened a section of the Racial Discrimination act in investigating the death in custody.

The Federal Court found the failure of the QPS to suspend Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley after Mr Doomadgee’s death was unlawful discrimination.

The QPS has now filed an appeal, and argued that the findings should be set aside because they were not supported by evidence.