Kumanjayi Walker inquest to resume


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PerthNow

An Indigenous teenager’s shooting death after a bungled outback arrest will have a “ripple effect” through the Northern Territory community and police force for years, an inquest has heard.

Constable Zachary Rolfe shot Kumanjayi Walker, 19, three times as he resisted arrest in Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs, on November 9, 2019.

An Alice Springs inquest into the death on Friday examined the 31-year-old officer’s actions in the lead up to and during the shooting in a darkened bedroom.

NT Police use-of-force expert Andrew Barram found Const Rolfe’s decision to forcefully enter and “militarily clear” the house where they found the Walpiri man was risky, against orders, potentially dangerous and contrary to policy.

Const Rolfe and the officer he was working with also failed to keep a safe distance between themselves and the man they suspected was Mr Walker, which allowed the teen to stab Const Rolfe in his left shoulder with a pair of scissors.

Acting Superintendent Barram agreed with counsel assisting Peggy Dwyer that the “operation” was an “abject failure” and Mr Waker’s death was “the absolute worst possible outcome”.

The veteran officer with 25 years on the job also agreed with Dr Dwyer that the “tragedy” would have a “ripple effect for the community and the police force for many years”.

Supt Barram previously told Const Rolfe’s criminal trial, which concluded with the officer being acquitted of Mr Walker’s murder, that he didn’t need to fire the shots that killed him.

He told the jury in March that Const Rolfe’s second and third shots into Mr Walker’s side as he lay on a mattress with another policeman on top of him were not reasonable or necessary.

“Had Rolfe holstered his firearm he had all the other accoutrements available and ’empty hand tactics’ assisting his partner with controlling …

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