Rolfe involved in earlier ‘violent’ arrest

Constable Zachary Rolfe has denied intentionally killing Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker.

Constable Zachary Rolfe has denied intentionally killing Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker. Photo: AAP

The Northern Territory police officer who shot and killed Kumanjayi Walker was involved in an earlier violent and humiliating arrest of another Indigenous youth, an inquest has been told.

The inquiry into the death of Mr Walker, 19, who was shot during a bungled arrest in Yuendumu in 2019, was played a video on Tuesday of Constable Zachary Rolfe detaining a 14-year-old boy.

After running from police the boy, who was wanted for a breach of bail,  had hidden in a wheelie bin.

Video from Const Rolfe’s body-worn camera showed him approach the bin and when he saw the boy inside he slammed down the lid before pulling it to the ground.

During his third day of evidence, Superintendent Jody Nobbs agreed the action to slam down the lid was an “act of unnecessary cruelty”, and the way the bin was thrown to the ground was “very violent”.

The inquest was told an investigation into the incident was closed with a finding that there was no excessive use of force and that Const Rolfe received a commendation for using his body-worn video.

Superintendent Nobbs said he wasn’t in a position to properly comment on the full factors considered during the investigation.

But he said “prima facie that doesn’t look good”.

“Alternate options were available in terms of engaging with the youth,” he said.

“It’s highly necessary in our mind … to continue to articulate what we are doing and why we’re doing it to ensure there’s no miscommunication and the flow from that is potential injury.

“Based on the narrow lens that you’ve provided … it certainly doesn’t look to align with our training framework.”

Superintendent Nobbs also agreed with counsel assisting the NT coroner that the way in which the youth was dealt with as he was taken into custody was “humiliating”.

In other evidence on Tuesday, the inquest was told that Const Rolfe had been involved in a total of 46 use-of-force incidents over a three-year period.

It was also told that more senior officers had counselled Const Rolfe over his failure to activate his body-worn camera on occasions, including one incident where he turned it off as he began to pursue a suspect.

Const Rolfe was charged with Mr Walker’s murder but was acquitted after a Supreme Court trial.

The inquest continues.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.