‘Racist’ Texts From Zachary Rolfe Heard At Inquest Into Kumanjayi Walker’s Death

The inquest into the death of Warlpiri teenager Kumanjayi Walker has heard text messages from and to Zachary Rolfe, the Northern Territory cop found not-guilty of murder, containing “racist” language.

Walker was 19-years-old at the time of his death, when he was shot three times in a confrontation with police. Zachary Rolfe was charged with murder in 2019, and unanimously found not guilty of murder or the alternate charges of manslaughter and engaging in a violent act causing death earlier this year by a NT Supreme Court jury.

The inquest into Kumajayi Walker’s death began on September 5 and is scheduled to last until November 25.

On Wednesday, Counsel Assisting the Coroner Dr Peggy Dwyer read a bunch of texts downloaded from Rolfe’s phone to NT Sergeant Anne Jolley, a “bush” police officer. All the texts were dated between March and November 2019.

As reported by The Australian, one text sent to Rolfe by another police officer said: “I heard you had a rough arvo yesty? Grubby fucks. Are you running issue duty belt et cetera. Do you run a comforter?”

Rolfe said: “No bra, just slightly annoying haha. C**ns, man”.

While questioning Jolley, Dwyer asked if she agreed that it was “shocking” to hear a police officer use the “blatantly racist, disgusting term to refer to an Aboriginal person?”.

Jolley agreed, according to The Australian.

Dwyer then referenced a text from Rolfe which read: “I just don’t get why all this work has got me to the point where it’s my job to look after neanderthals who drink too much alcohol haha”.

Dwyer said to Jolley that she would ask Rolfe “what he was meaning to infer” when he ultimately gives evidence at the inquiry.

“But if by use of the term ‘neanderthals’ he’s meaning to refer to anybody who is of Aboriginal descent, do you agree that that is disgusting and disgraceful and wholly unacceptable?” she asked Jolley.

Jolley agreed, saying it was “disgusting”.

Another text from Rolfe sent to a police offer referred to “some white b***h who think she’s Aboriginal”.

And a text received by Rolfe from another police officer read: “The cops out here have fucked this town. They have been letting the n****s drink wherever they want. Ha ha”.

“Bush cops are fucking shithouse,” Rolfe responded, according to Dwyer.

According to the ABCIan Freckleton AO KC, who’s representing the NT Police, told Coroner Elisabeth Armitage the messages “do not represent the values of the Northern Territory Police Force or of most members of that force”. He also described them as “repugnant”.

On Tuesday, Armitage ruled the texts — which were downloaded from Rolfe’s phone after his arrest — could be looked at during the inquest.

The court will sit again on Thursday 15th.