A prominent Aboriginal justice advocate has warned the not guilty verdict for Constable Zachary Rolfe sends a statement that police can act against Indigenous people with impunity.
Constable Rolfe was last week found not guilty of murder, manslaughter and a violent act causing death after shooting 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker three times in Yuendumu in 2019.
National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project spokeswoman Megan Krakouer compared the case to the trial of the officer charged with murdering Yamatji woman Ms Clarke in Geraldton in 2019. That officer, whose identity was suppressed by court order, was also found not guilty.
“Two non—Indigenous men charged with murder did not spend a night in jail,” she said.
“They were walking free with their families every day – that is white privilege at work.
“That there have been no convictions, even since the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody, shows the character of this country in terms of the racism that is entrenched.”
Ms Krakouer said in the cases of both Mr Walker and Ms Clarke video evidence should have secured convictions.
“The family of Ms Clarke will be devastated, they will be reliving their trauma,” she said.
“Even a conviction for as lesser charge would have brought some sense of relief.”
Ms Krakouer said the laws and policies governing police training in states and territories across the country need to be reformed urgently.