Disgust and hurt at Rolfe's racist texts

A Northern Territory Indigenous police officer has told of his hurt, anger and disgust at the racist texts found on the phone of a fellow officer who shot dead an Aboriginal teenager.

Senior Constable Brad Wallace gave evidence at the inquest into the death of Kumanjayi Walker on Thursday, the 19-year-old who was shot three times during a bungled arrest at Yuendumu in 2019.

Constable Zachary Rolfe was charged with the murder of the Warlpiri man but was acquitted after a Supreme Court trial.

The inquiry previously heard that Const Rolfe used the word c**n in a text in the months before the shooting.

He also took part in other text conversations where racist terms, such as n*****, were used to describe Aboriginal people.

Asked about the messages, Sen Const Wallace said "as a police officer I'm disgusted. As an Aboriginal man I'm angry, I'm hurt".

Sen Const Wallace said he had witnessed some very positive changes to diminish the impact of racism during his two-decade policing career.

"But what really impacted me was that after 24 years the same language was being used, albeit on what those members thought was a private platform," he said.

"I'm deeply hurt and disappointed.

"It makes me reflect on how those officers would view my family members walking down the street."

Sen Const Wallace, who joined the NT force in 2020 after serving in the Australian Federal Police for 20 years, said when he began work in Alice Springs he had been surprised at the high level of commitment from police in caring for members of the local Indigenous community.

"It was quite heartening to me. I was really shocked by the absence of racism," he said.

"I was expecting a lot of negativity and I was expecting to be confronted by words, actions and reflections that would be better placed in the past.

"I have nothing but praise for the general duties members that I have worked with here and by the leadership within the station.

"Other than some of the things that have come out during this inquest."

In earlier evidence on Thursday, the inquest was told that Const Rolfe would likely have been rejected from joining the NT force if a disciplinary issue during his time in the army had been known.

Const Rolfe had not revealed to an interview panel that he had pleaded guilty to a military charge of theft and had been put on probation for two years as a result.

Psychologist Bruce Van Haeften, who was on the interview panel, said had he known that information at the time he would have assumed the failure to disclose the details was deliberate and deceitful.

Dr Van Haeften said it would have likely resulted in Const Rolfe's application being rejected.

"If I had discovered that type of omission for any candidate, it's unlikely I would have recommended recruitment, due to the perceived dishonesty," he said.

The inquest was also told that at the time of his NT interview, Const Rolfe had been rejected by the Queensland police force for failing to reveal he had been involved in a public fight in Townsville in 2011.

While he revealed details of the fight and his subsequent fine to the NT recruiters, he indicated his Queensland application was still pending.

In the end, the interview panel determined Const Rolfe to have "excellent potential" at the same time noting he returned an above-average aggression score in psychological testing.