Image used with the permission of Kumanjayi Walker's family
Two nurses who fled a remote community before a Northern Territory policeman shot an Indigenous teenager dead are expected to give evidence when an inquest resumes.
Kumanjayi Walker, 19, died after Constable Zachary Rolfe shot him three times during a botched arrest in Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs on November 9, 2019.
An Alice Springs inquest into his death has been told that in the hours before the shooting, Yuendumu’s medical staff fled the community after a series of break-ins at their homes and the local clinic.
Nurses Luana Symonds and Vanessa Watts felt “very unsafe” after an intruder attempted to gain access to one of the nurses’ quarters about 1.30am the same day, counsel assisting Peggy Dwyer has previously told the coroner.
The decision to evacuate left Yuendumu, a community of about 800 people, with no medical staff when Const Rolfe shot Mr Walker about six hours later after the Walpiri man stabbed him.
Mr Walker later died from his injuries on the floor at the local police station as officers administered first aid and a medical team from the neighbouring community of Yuelamu, 70km away, raced to the scene.
A jury in March found Const Rolfe not guilty of murdering Mr Walker. His trial heard Mr Walker’s injuries were so severe that even if Ms Symonds and Ms Watts had remained in the community they may not have been able to save him.
The pair are listed to be called to give evidence on Monday instead of the police officers previously scheduled.
That is likely because some of the officers are now seeking legal representation before they take the stand after senior lawyers raised concerns about some of the evidence given by a senior police officer.
Superintendent Jody Nobbs spent more than a day in the witness box during the last week of hearings that adjourned on September 30.
His wide-ranging evidence shed light on the police response to the shooting, including the plan to deceive the Indigenous community about Mr Walker’s death.
Supt Nobbs was also highly critical of Const Rolfe and his team for taking high-powered assault weapons into Yuendumu and ignoring his orders on the night Mr Walker was killed.
He also expressed his disappointment and frustration with police officers in Alice Springs who were found during the shooting investigation to have been sharing racist text messages with each other in the months before Mr Walker was killed.
The messages variously described Aboriginal people as Neanderthals, “grubby f***s,” “n***ers” and “bush c**ns”.
The men also used derogatory language to refer to Indigenous colleagues and talked about “towelling up the locals” in another remote community.
The inquest resumes on Monday.