More Northern Territory police force members are set to give evidence at a coronial inquest into the death of Indigenous teen Kumanjayi Walker in a botched arrest bid.
The inquest continues on Friday after hearing on Thursday that a series of controversial text messages that may have influenced Constable Zachary Rolfe’s defence to a murder charge were not meant for him.
A senior officer also defended the “militarisation” of the NT police force and its heavy reliance on guns.
Const Rolfe fatally shot Mr Walker, 19, three times as he resisted arrest in Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs, on November 9, 2019.
Afterwards, Const Rolfe received text messages telling him to justify his intent as self-defence against “the s*** c*** (who) was telling him that he was going to stab the police”.
But Sergeant Ian Nankivell, who wrote the messages, told the inquest into the fatal shooting he “emphatically denied” that the messages were for Const Rolfe.
Patrick Coleridge, counsel assisting the coroner, suggested the text messages could be seen as a template for justifying Const Rolfe’s shooting of Mr Walker.
Const Rolfe had been sent to apprehend the teen with four other police members as part of a special police unit.
NT Deputy Police Commissioner Murray Smalpage, said he could see how people perceived the special unit as military-like. He also said he knew that communities “would much prefer we didn’t carry firearms,” but still said that guns were essential to the police force.
Const Rolfe was found not guilty by a Supreme Court jury of Mr Walker’s murder.
The inquest in Alice Springs continues, with other members of the NT Police Force, including Assistant Commissioner Bruce Porter, expected to give evidence over the next two weeks.
(Image: Aaron Bunch/AAP PHOTOS)