— With AAP.
1. A Northern Territory policeman has been charged with murder over the shooting death of an Indigenous man.
A Northern Territory policeman has been charged with murder over last weekend’s shooting of 19-year-old Indigenous man Kumanjayi Walker.
Walker died after he was shot at Yuendumu, 300 kilometres from Alice Springs, on Saturday night when two police officers went there to arrest him for breaches of his suspended sentence.
A 28-year old male NT police officer has been charged with one count of murder, NT Police said in a statement on Wednesday night.
Police said the officer, identified as Constable Zachary Rolfe, had been suspended on pay and charged with one count of murder. He was granted bail in an out-of-session court hearing, and was due to reappear in court in Alice Springs on December 19, the statement said.
Walker’s family and Yuendumu residents asked why the police officer had fired his gun three times instead of using a taser to provide an electric shock or pepper spray.
They were also not told about his death until the morning after he was shot, after believing overnight that he was still alive.
Angry residents from the remote community of about 800 Warlpiri people gathered after the shooting at the police station as officers locked themselves inside.
NT Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Michael White said after the shooting that Walker had lunged at an officer and stabbed him with a weapon, which sources had said were scissors and a struggle ensued, but the family disputed that version.
The officers had body-worn cameras that have been viewed by NT police internal investigators.
Walker was released from prison on October 21 over property and stealing offences, but was being re-arrested for breaching the terms of his release.
Police had allowed Mr Walker to attend the funeral of a relative earlier that day.
There were no medical staff to initially help after the shooting as Yuendumu Health Centre workers evacuated earlier on Saturday due to safety concerns.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service also delayed its response amid safety concerns before it was called off because the young man died.
Staff from Yuelamu Health Centre 60 km away were injured after going to Yuendumu following the shooting and assisting in pronouncing Mr Walker dead.
They were injured in community unrest and required evacuation to receive treatment for lacerations and bruises at the Alice Springs Hospital.
Emotions are running high among Indigenous people in the NT and around the nation and the death has been a flashpoint for anger over the treatment of Aboriginal people by police, including deaths in custody, high prison rates, past massacres and the Stolen Generations.