‘Disgusting’ Texts Sent By Zachary Rolfe Presented To Inquest Into Kumanjayi Walker’s Death

"I do have a licence to towel locals. I like it"

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Vile texts sent between Zach Rolfe and fellow police officers have been released as part of the official inquest into the death of Kumanjayi Walker.

— WARNING: This article contains quotations of racist and offensive language shared between police officers. — 

Officer Zachary Rolfe fatally shot Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker in the remote Northern Territory community of Yuendumu late last year, with an all-white jury ultimately finding Rolfe not guilty of murder after a five-week trial. However, evidence that was not permitted to be presented to the jury has now surfaced in a coroner’s inquest into Walker’s death, including vile text messages sent between Rolfe and fellow officers.

iPhone messages between Rolfe and other officers working at Yuendumu Police Station were read out in the Northern Territory coroners court today after they were approved as evidence this week despite heavy opposition from police lawyers.

According to the ABC, the messages contain explicit racial slurs used by Rolfe and fellow officers to describe First Nations people, as well as willing expressions of police brutality after Rolfe told a fellow officer he had a license to ‘towel locals’.

Constable Rolfe: Oi, if you’re hungry, you’re definitely allowed to towel locals up.

Fellow officer: If your last name rhymes with Olf, you’re allowed to towel up locals.

Rolfe: I do have a licence to towel locals. I like it.

In another message, an officer apologises to Rolfe after he “lost his shit”, with Rolfe appearing to console him by expressing a willingness to exaggerate danger, a key indicator in deciding whether violence used by police is warranted.

Rolfe: Bro, there was literally no stress about it. I’m all for that shit. I’ve done the same thing to you more than once, before. I’m always ready to make my camera face the other way, and be a dramatic c*** in the film, ha ha.”

Other officer: And the Oscar goes to.

Rolfe and other police colleagues also heaped scorn onto local country police officers at Yuendumu station, with Rolfe telling another officer that “girls and bush cops all disgust me, ha ha”.

The officer in command of Yuendumu police station Sergeant Anne Jolley, told the court that the messages were “disgraceful”. “I am surprised, I’ll be honest I am surprised and shocked,” Jolley said.

The inquest into Kumanjayi Walker’s death will conclude in late November.