Family release photo of man shackled to hospital bed after he dies in police custody

A DISTRESSED family have released a harrowing photo of their loved one shackled to his hospital death bed.

Eric Whittaker's relatives have slammed officials for treating  him "like an animal" before he died at Westmead Hospital in Sydney on July 4.

Whittaker was taken to hospital because he had suffered an aneurysm behind bars. One of his blood vessels had ruptured during his time spent in isolation.

Police officials said he was isolated in the cell because he became "incoherent and uncontrollable", The Sun-Herald reported.

He was classed as a maximum-security inmate at Parklea jail after he was arrested for a range of offences including possession of stolen goods, carrying a knife in a public place and failure to appear in court.

Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin said "only with hindsight, one can say, OK, maybe we should have removed the restraints earlier".

But his dad, Jamie Whittaker said it was "bloody appalling" that his son died with "shackles on him like that".

He told the newspaper: "There is no dignity shown towards Aboriginal people when they pass away."

Aunt Daisy Fernando said he was treated "like a mongrel dog".

The family have been left devastated because they have not been given full accounts of the events leading up to his death.

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