Australia

NT community demands answers over shooting death of Kumanjayi Walker

The community of Yuendumu stand in solidarity with one another after 19-year-old Warlpiri man is shot dead by police. Source: Jamie Nelson Williams

Yuendumu community demands an independent investigation into the death of Kumanjayi Walker as prominent figures express sadness and outrage and nationwide demonstrations organised.

Warning: Sensitive Content 

Prominent Northern Territory figures have expressed their sadness and outrage over the death of a 19-year-old Warlpiri man, as the remote community of Yuendumu goes into mourning.  

The young man, Kumanjayi Walker, was shot by police early Saturday night in Yuendumu, a community located around 300 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.

READ MORE AT NITV: Yuendumu community demanding answers over the death of Kumanjayi Walker

Police allege Mr Walker stabbed an officer as they were attempting to arrest him for "outstanding offences". 

They claim this led to one officer discharging his firearm, wounding Mr Walker, who then died shortly afterwards. 

However, several community Elders have told NITV News that they dispute the account made by police.

Community members are also angry with the way police handled Mr Walker after the shooting.

One source told NITV New that the house where the shooting occurred had blood on the floor suggesting Mt Walker's body had been dragged.

Another resident, Senita Granites, said she witnessed police load Mr Walker into the police vehicle.

"I went outside and I saw them drag him by the leg and chucked him in the paddy wagon," Ms Granites told NITV News.

'WYDAC are acutely aware of the increased fear and broken trust that young Warlpiri people now have when interacting with NT Pol
'WYDAC are acutely aware of the increased fear and broken trust that young Warlpiri people now have when interacting with NT Police.'
Maxwell Tasman, Lajamanu resident.

"He wasn’t even moving when he was dragged out from the house by the leg. He wasn’t even carried. 

"I wake up in the night. I can't sleep. Everyone here in Yuendumu couldn’t sleep, cause of what the police done to us." 

Calls for an independent investigation

Warlpiri community members and Elders met with police at the Yuendumu basketball courts on Sunday afternoon, where NT Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Travis Wurst apologised for the death of Mr Walker.

"Police are here to stay, we're here to protect and we want to work with you," Assistant Commissioner Wurst said.  

Senior Elder, Ned Hargraves, said he was glad the police came to hear community concerns, but the community still wanted them to leave Yuendumu.

“That might be what they had to say, but we still don’t trust anybody. I said to them, 'How can we trust you?," said Mr Hargraves. 

"We want a full investigation."

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