NT cop charged with teen’s death
The Northern Territory police officer who allegedly shot dead 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker in the remote Territory community of Yuendumu has been charged with murder.
NT Police confirmed last night that Constable Zachary Rolfe, 28, had been charged with one count of murder.
He was released on bail and is expected to appear in court in Alice Springs on December 19. The NT News reported multiple Alice Springs police called in sick in the hours after Constable Rolfe was charged.
The officer had led a short but decorated career as a Northern Territory Police officer until Saturday, when he allegedly shot Kumanjayi Walker.
Walker died after he was shot at Yuendumu, 300 kilometres from Alice Springs, on Saturday night when two police officers went there to arrest him for breaches of his suspended sentence.
Constable Rolfe was a star pupil at Canberra Grammar and joined the NT Police force in 2016.
Within days of graduating from the police college, while a probationary constable, Constable Rolfe saved the lives of two tourists who had been swept into floodwaters in Alice Springs. His efforts that day earned him the National Bravery Medal, the Royal Humane Society's Clarke Medal for bravery and the Hong Kong government's Bronze Medal for Bravery, the first time Hong Kong authorities have awarded the city-state's highest bravery award to a foreigner for an act performed outside of Hong Kong.
Constable Rolfe is well respected among his current and former colleagues, one of whom told the NT News yesterday the incident amounted to a "worst nightmare" scenario for all frontline police.
An NT Police spokesman said it was supporting Constable Rolfe and his family this week.
The spokesman said the family was "very upset" and were advised not to comment publicly. Constable Rolfe is the son of prominent Canberra business identities and philanthropists Robert and Debbie Rolfe. The general manager of Mr Rolfe's Audi dealership, Nicholas Watman, on Wednesday said the family had been told not to comment until after investigations were over.
Mr Rolfe had taken time off work and would be keeping a low profile in coming weeks in support of his son, Mr Watman said. Last night, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he was unable to comment on the charge but called for calm.
"This is a sad time for all involved. It is a time of high emotion," he said.
"All members of our police force serve us day in night out, keep us safe and often put themselves in harms way. "They will be hurting and will need your support.
"We also have many people In Yuendumu and around the Territory who are hurting and grieving.
"I ask that everyone at this extremely difficult time is as respectful and peaceful as possible. "As Territorians we have been through challenging times before, our history shows we always support each other and we will again."
A statement from the NT Police Association said it continued to support Constable Rolfe. "The NTPA is continuing to support out member who has this evening been charged with murder, as well as his family, and all other officers involved in the critical incident at Yuendumu on Saturday 9 November," the statement read.
"The officer who has been charged is being provided all appropriate legal advice and support at this difficult time."