Australia

Family horrified after police shot NT teen, inquest told

The family of the Indigenous teenager who was killed by Northern Territory police officers has launched an inquiry into his death about the fear and terror he felt the night he was shot.

In Yuendum, 290 kilometers northwest of Alice Springs, Warupili Kumanjay Walker, 19, died on November 9, 2019 after 31-year-old constable Zachary Rolfe shot him three times.

His cousin Samara Fernandez Brown said at a hearing in Alice Springs on Monday that her family was terrified and scarred hours after the shooting.

“His family gathered just meters from him, but we were all robbed of the opportunity to say goodbye,” she said behind a locked door on a floor inside the Yuendum police station. He mentioned that his cousin had died.

She said the community “begged for answers[and]begged for minimal information.”

“In the dark, we waited…we got nothing,” she said.

“Kumangjai died…I think he was in pain. He was frightened and deprived of his comfort.”

Warlpiri Elder Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves was also present in Yuen Dam the night Mr. Walker was killed.

“There was a loud noise… gunshots,” he said.

“We had to collect and protect all the children, but later we went to the police station and asked, ‘Is he alive?'” he said.

“There was no answer…we were terrified[and]the whole community was shattered…completely terrified.”

Another elder, Robin Granites, said that although Mr. Walker died almost three years ago, “it seems like it happened yesterday.”

“I can never comprehend the hopelessness, fear, and hurt we feel because of this injustice,” he said.

“The pain we feel is real…We will fight for Kumanjai and never stop fighting for justice.”

He pleaded with coroner Elizabeth Armitage to hear the voices of the Yuendum community.

“We are here to speak the truth…we have to be part of the result,” he said.

Armitage acknowledged the suffering experienced by Walker’s family and the Waalpiri community, and called on those involved in the inquest to remain open-minded.

“At the start of this hearing, I ask myself this question: Do you know the story of Kumanjai Walker and Constable Zachary Rolfe? Do you?” she said in the opening.

“I think there’s a lot to learn about this story and we need to try to understand it, so look a little deeper and listen a little more.”

Lawyers assisting Peggy Dwyer said Mr Walker’s death had to be viewed in the context of Australia’s history.

“It’s a history that includes colonization, the confiscation of indigenous peoples and ill-fated policies,” she said in her opening remarks.

“The law has not always been applied equally to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians … It has often created difficulties for Indigenous peoples.”

At the inquest, it was heard that Mr. Walker had an intellectual disability, was partially deaf, and was struggling at school because he had grown up surrounded by domestic violence.

He also exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and has spent about half of his life under some form of legal custody for property crimes and bail or violation of court orders since age 14.

Dr. Dwyer said the evidence was “not invoked to demonize or shame Kumanjai.”

“On the contrary, he was called to understand his experience and what led him to come into contact with the police,” she said.

The three-month hearings will explore 54 issues related to Mr. Walker’s death, including police actions before and after Mr. Walker was shot and how it affected his community.

Also, Mr. Walker received proper medical attention after Officer Rolfe shot him in the torso at close range during a brawl between him and another officer inside his teenage grandmother’s house. We will also investigate whether it was

The teenage boy was shot to death about an hour after Officer Rolfe’s second bullet ripped through his spleen, lungs, liver and kidneys since he was acquitted of his murder trial. stabbed a police officer.



Family horrified after police shot NT teen, inquest told

Source link Family horrified after police shot NT teen, inquest told

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