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Yuendumu inquiry must be independent, transparent and swift

Posted: Mon, November 11, 2019

The Central Land Council says the family of Kumanjayi Walker deserves an inquiry without delay that is independent of the Northern Territory police, fully transparent and thorough.

Passing on his condolences to the family during a rally outside the police headquarters in Alice Springs today, CLC CEO Joe Martin-Jard said the family needs to learn the truth as soon as possible.

“We want full transparency, we want to see the body camera evidence, we want it out in the open,” Mr Martin-Jard said.

“I call on the coroner to have this inquiry at Yuendumu and give families the chance to talk to him,” he said.

Mr Martin-Jard and CLC deputy chair Barbara Shaw commended the community’s elders who called for calm and want this inquiry to get to the truth quickly.

“The elders kept the community together, respectfully and peacefully,” Ms Shaw said.

“They have called for an inquest and for it to happen at Yuendumu so people feel safe to share their own stories in their community. That’s what they have requested, that’s what they need support for and that’s what we stand by.”

Ms Shaw, a youth worker, said the shooting came less than two weeks after a constructive discussion between the CLC delegates and a high ranking police officer at Yulara Pulka outstation.

Ms Shaw said the death of a teenager in custody and the stories she hears nightly from young people in her care have shaken her confidence in the ability of the police to repair their relationship with remote communities any time soon.

“I’m a person who’s supposed to be building the relationship between the police and our people but now I feel very disappointed.”

“We’re all going to have to take the long road because if this can happen to a 19-year old this can happen to a little 13 year old who’s walking the streets at night.”

Ms Shaw called on communities and Aboriginal organisations to work together in support of the coronial inquest.

“This coroner’s report has to look at the police and all the health and social issues that have contributed to the death,” she said.

11 November 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579| media@clc.org.au