Family Of Kumanjayi Walker Call His Murder Trial “Not Fair” After Officer Found Not Guilty
"They saw only his flaws, and wish to put him on trial for his own death."
The family of Kumanjayi Walker have spoken up after police officer Zachary Rolfe was found not guilty on all charges for the Indigenous teenager’s death on Friday.
Walker was shot three times during an attempted arrest in the remote area of Yuendumu after the 19-year-old stabbed Rolfe with scissors. The second and third shots were in close range while Walker was being restrained on a mattress by Rolfe’s partner, Sergeant Adam Eberl.
“We felt this trial was not fair. We wanted the jury to hear our stories and the truth of what happened on that irreversible day, 9 November 2019,” said the official statement from the Walker family.
They said they hoped the trial would take place in Mparntwe/Alice Springs instead of Darwin, and questioned how Rolfe was allowed to spend his bail in the ACT when the shootings happened in the Northern Territory.
Additionally, they called out the kardiya — or non-Indigenous — justice system as “really dishonest” and helps “kardiya avoid instead of making them accountable”.
“We thought we could have a multicultural jury instead of just non-Indigenous people. But to our surprise, there was not one Indigenous person on the panel. We felt left out… We feel neglected to not see Indigenous yapa [Warlpiri people] on the jury.”
On top of a non-Indigenous jury, it was revealed on Sunday that the sister of one of the twelve men and women who acquitted Rolfe is a serving Northern Territory police officer, according to NT News. The woman told Justice Burns that she didn’t think her sister’s line of work would cause her bias in approaching the evidence in the trial.
"Guns out of remote communities!
Solidarity with Yuendumu.#JusticeForWalker!"
Solidarity with the family of Kumanjayi Walker and the community of Yuendumu on Walpiri country from Yuggera and Turrbal country early this morning. pic.twitter.com/2SA7ujl0hS
— Refugee Solidarity Meanjin (@RSMeanjin) March 13, 2022
Walker’s family are now calling for the ban of gun use by police officers in remote Indigenous communities. His cousin, Samara Fernandez-Brown addressed media outside the Northern Territory Supreme Court after the trial concluded, and expressed grief on how Walker was “picked apart” by strangers who “depicted solely as a dangerous individual”.
“They saw only his flaws, and wish to put him on trial for his own death,” she said. “That is disgusting, and that’s the system we live in.”
“We would like to encourage all Indigenous people right across Australia to fight for justice, and no matter what happens, never back down! Keep fighting until justice prevails,” said the Walker family.
Photo Credit: Refugee Solidarity Meanjin/Twitter