Resentment festers in police ranks six months after Yuendumu shooting

by | May 26, 2020 | Cops, News | 0 comments

Six months on from the Yuendumu shooting and a large portion of the Northern Territory Police Force remains disenchanted with how the incident was handled by the Gunner Government.

Constable Zachary Rolfe was charged with one count of murder over 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker’s death following a fatal shooting in the remote community west of Alice Springs last November.

Rolfe intends to plead not guilty to the charge.

The NT Independent has spoken to several NT police officers who are considering moving interstate, with many already jumping ship to Tasmania Police.

“The feeling is more that it (Rolfe being charged) was done so fast, not often a charge gets dropped on someone so quickly,” one officer told the NT Independent

“Then we all feel a little like there is no information being shared or support for us. It’s like charges were laid, no more info.”

Many officers are understood to believe a grey area exists around “use of force options”, with concerns they will be prosecuted for defending themselves if a similar incident occurred.

NT Police Association president Paul McCue confirmed there was “absolutely” resentment within the force over the Gunner Government’s handling of the Yuendumu incident.

“We‘ve surveyed our members about this, they are still disappointed with the Chief Minister over the events of late last year, there’s no question about that,” he told Mix 104.9. 

“We have a good relationship with the (Police) Minister (Nicole Manison).

“But certainly towards the Chief Minister those feelings are very strong.”

Mr McCue said a survey conducted within the police would be released shortly and showed more focus was also needed in recruitment.

“Ninety per cent of our respondents found the current (recruitment) process ineffective, they are pretty startling figures,” he said. 

NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said he had been working hard to bridge the relationship between cops and indigenous communities since the Yuendumu shooting, which occurred just hours after he started in the role.

He said he had succeeded in rebuilding the relationship with the Yuendumu community, as the charges make their way through the court system.

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