Call for NT cop's blood over teen shooting

Residents in a remote Indigenous community where a Northern Territory policeman shot dead a teenager during bungled arrest say traditional payback needs to happen so it can heal.

Kumanjayi Walker died after Constable Zachary Rolfe shot him three times during a bungled arrest in Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs, on November 9, 2019.

Elder Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves says the court system that found Const Rolfe not guilty of the 19-year-old's murder failed to deliver justice for the Warlpiri community.

"People are very, very angry. They are not satisfied with what happened in Darwin," he said on Tuesday in reference to the five-week jury trial.

"That's the question they are asking today - how come he was acquitted?"

Asked if Yuendumu could finish its grieving for Mr Walker, known as sorry business, without traditional justice, Mr Hargraves said: "No, no".

"Deep in our hearts, deep in our minds, deep in the community we want to see justice," he said.

"We have not seen the blood of Zachary Rolfe. That tells us that is not the way it should have been. It tells us it is we have been disrespected.

"We as a community stand and fight for justice."

Asked how the community felt about Const Rolfe appearing as a witness at the inquest on Wednesday, Mr Hargraves said: "It is so disgusting, so disgusting".

"We as a community are thinking, how come (Const Rolfe is) still in a job? How come he's still in the NT?" he said.

His comments were made as the inquest into Mr Walker's death conducted informal sittings in Yuendumu for coroner Elisabeth Armitage to hear from community members.

The two-day visit started on Monday with a tour of house 511, now known as Memory House, where Const Rolfe shot Mr Walker in the back and torso as he resisted arrest.

It was followed by a truth-telling session and a tour on Tuesday of other sites around the town that are relevant to the inquest.

Judge Armitage also took part in a so-called yarning circle, where members of the community told the coroner that Const Rolfe should have, at the very least, lost his job as a policeman after killing Mr Walker.

The group also expressed its disappointment and frustration with the conduct of the officer's trial, saying Justice John Burns was not neutral.

It said he had not adequately reprimanded Const Rolfe's father, Richard Rolfe, after a witness called him out over alleged intimidation in the court toilet.

Some community members also questioned why the jurors were non-Indigenous.

The group also explained cultural payback or traditional justice, which can include spearing an offender, saying it is an organised cultural ceremony for the community to witness and not carried out in haste.

Mr Walker's cousin Samara Fernandez-Brown told the coroner the community had been frustrated to hear police officers tell the inquest they feared payback over the teen's death in the hours after Const Rolfe shot him.

The group also called for NT and federal governments to recognise the Warlpiri community's cultural authority in Yuendumu, which the group said had been lost during the Howard government's Intervention.

It said health, education and service provision should be community-controlled to better service residents' needs and provide them jobs.

A community member also questioned the coroner about the inquest's eventual recommendations and whether they were enforceable.

Counsel-assisting Peggy Dwyer said they were not, that change would take time.

The coroner had planned to start the inquest with a visit to Yuendumu in early September but it was scrapped after some in the community objected.

More than two months on, her presence and that of the legal parties, including Const Rolfe's lawyer, Luke Officer, was welcomed.

The inquest will return to Alice Springs on Wednesday.