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NT cop who shot teen writes letter, leaves the country

A Northern Territory police officer who shot an Indigenous teenager dead has penned an open letter and left the country.

Constable Zachary Rolfe, who shot Kumanjayi Walker three times during a bungled outback arrest in Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs, in November 2019, flew out of Canberra on Thursday.

The 31-year-old has defended his character in an open letter and criticised the NT Police Force and its commissioner for how they handled the inquest into the shooting.

The letter comes after his refusal to answer questions at the coronial inquest into the 19-year-old Warlpiri man's death.

In the letter, Const Rolfe said the NT Police Force had wasted millions of dollars on disciplining him rather than giving him a medal.

"Despite this, the coronial focus is still on me rather than on areas that could improve the circumstances of the NT," he wrote.

He also justified a series of texts in which he used derogatory terms towards Indigenous people, calling it "playground" language.

"I have used rude and racist terms regarding nearly every race, most often my own," he wrote.

He dedicated 600 words to outlining rescues and patrols he had conducted as a police officer.

In contrast, he said many details covered in the inquest had been taken out of context, "with several maligned cops talking badly about me".

NT police leadership had used him as a pawn to satisfy their political goals, he wrote. "Right now, the NT Police is broken."

"The NT Police remain respectful of the coronial process and will continue to do so," said a spokesperson from the NT Police.

"There has been significant evidence already provided to the inquest by police, including about improvements within the agency since November 2019, and further witnesses are due to appear as we continue our cooperation with the process."

Const Rolfe is appealing a NT Supreme Court ruling that he should answer questions about the text messages, his alleged excessive use of force and allegations he falsified a police recruitment application at an ongoing coronial inquest into the shooting.

His father, Canberra-based businessman Richard Rolfe, told The Australian he knew where his son was but not when or if he was coming home.

Const Rolfe's lawyers declined to comment.