A senior member of the Northern Territory Police Force, who criticised the police officers involved in the bungled arrest that led to the death of Kumanjayi Walker, will again give more evidence at an inquest.
Coroner Elisabeth Armitage will hear from NT Deputy Police Commissioner Murray Smalpage after he took the stand on Tuesday and said a specialist police unit sent to apprehend Mr Walker did not adhere to standard police safety principles.
Their decisions were “tactically unsound and unhelpful for his apprehension and potentially placed officers at greater risk”, he said.
Mr Walker was shot three times by Constable Zachary Rolfe during a botched arrest at Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs, on November 9, 2019.
The 19-year-old was then transferred to the Yuendumu police station, where he died.
Mr Smalpage also told the hearing an ambulance that transported police officers that night should not have been used. At the time, many in Yuendumu believed the ambulance was being used to take Mr Walker to medical care.
The act “further led to community distrust,” said Mr Smalpage. “We shouldn’t have done it.”
He defended the police officers’ decision not to invite Mr Walker’s family members into the police station as he was dying, but said he understood that had caused the family considerable distress and added his apologies to those of other officers.
The five-member unit was sent to arrest Mr Walker after he had fled an Alice Springs alcohol rehabilitation clinic the week before, even though he had agreed to turn himself in after his great uncle’s funeral.
Other members of the NT Police Force and Territory Families are expected to give evidence as the inquest continues over the next two weeks.