Kumanjayi Walker inquest hears officer wouldn’t have called specialist team if she had known about racist texts

The officer in charge of the Yuendumu police station on the night Kumanjayi Walker died says she wouldn’t have allowed the unit Constable Zachary Rolfe was part of into the community if she had known any members of the team had exchanged racist texts. 

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains an image of a person who has died, used with the permission of their family.

Sergeant Julie Frost on Wednesday gave evidence at the three-month inquest into the police shooting death of the 19-year-old, apologising to Mr Walker’s family and denying any suggestion police exaggerated the threat posed by the community. 

Constable Rolfe was sent to Yuendumu to help arrest Mr Walker as part of the Immediate Response Team,  a special police group based in Alice Springs.

Constable Rolfe has been cleared of all charges over his death.

Last week “racist” and “derogatory” text message exchanges sent between Constable Rolfe and some of his fellow officers were read out in court and on Thursday counsel assisting Peggy Dwyer revealed an unnamed sergeant involved in the response team was implicated in the texts. 

Sergeant Frost said she would not have asked for the team’s assistance or allowed them to enter the community if she had known they held “racist views about Aboriginal people”.

A black and white image of a young man smiling, wearing a baseball cap, headphones around his neck
Kumanjayi Walker was fatally shot by Constable Rolfe in Yuendumu in 2019.(Supplied)

Sergeant Frost was questioned on why the community had not been told the Warlpiri-Luritja man had died until the following day and why no one from the community was allowed inside to be with him “in his final hours”. 

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