Australian Police Officer to Stand Trial for Shooting Man who Stabbed him During Arrest
Constable Zachary Rolfe, an officer with the Northern Territory Police was committed to stand trial yesterday for murder in an incident that has shocked police around the country and around the world.
Rolfe was charged with murder after the death of indigenous teen Kumanjayi Walker who was fatally shot during an arrest attempt in the remote community of Yuendumu in November 2019.
In a staggering lack of transparency by a local court, Judge John Birch ordered the reasoning behind his judgment to send the case to a higher court for trial suppressed, preventing publication of his reasons for committing the case against Constable Rolfe to trial.
During the three-day committal hearing, similar to a grand jury in the United States (although it is an open proceeding,) the court heard Mr. Walker was shot three times during the altercation on the night he died, leading to his death.
The shooting occurred in Yuendumu on the second attempt made by police to take Walker into custody. The first attempt made by local officers failed, so command staff sent police members from the Northern Territory Police Immediate Response Team, of which Rolfe was a member.
According to evidence tendered in court by a criminologist, it was alleged that even though Constable Rolfe was stabbed with scissors by the suspect, the criminologist declared that one shot was deemed appropriate, but somehow the following two shots fired by Constable Rolfe were deemed by the criminologist in tendered evidence as “excessive, unreasonable, and unnecessary”
The Supreme Court trial date for Constable Rolfe has not yet been set.