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Cops refused to give Kumanjayi Walker mouth-to-mouth after shooting death

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A Northern Territory policeman refused to give a dying Indigenous teenager mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after shooting him three times during a bungled outback arrest, an inquest has been told.

Constable Zachary Rolfe shot Kumanjayi Walker in the back as he wrestled with another officer on November 9, 2019 in the remote community of Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs.

After the incident, Const Rolfe and four other officers in the arrest team took the badly injured 19-year-old to the local police station where they fought to save his life.

The inquest into the Walpiri man's death heard on Wednesday that a health worker gave the officers medical advice via telephone and told them to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as his condition deteriorated.

"Anybody comfortable doing mouth-to-mouth?" body-worn camera footage from inside the station recorded Constable Anthony Hawkings asking his fellow officers after he was given the instruction.

"No," Const Rolfe replied.

Const Hawkings then tells the heath worker that due to Mr Walker being found with scissors in his hand and health and safety regulations no one was prepared to do it, the inquest heard.

Mr Walker died soon after but a senior officer in Alice Springs ordered police in Yuendumu not to tell the Aboriginal community members who had gathered outside the compound.

The crowd remained relatively calm and believed the teenager was still alive long after he had died.

But as the night wore on, Const Hawkings and the other officers in the station became increasingly fearful as rocks rained down on the compound.

Superintendent Jody Nobbs ordered them to evacuate over fears the Yuendumu station could be overrun but a senior officer in Darwin reversed the decision.

Amid the unrest, Const Hawkings warned Supt Nobbs that the seven officers inside could be firebombed if they were forced to lock themselves in a cell for protection from the community.

"Yep, well, yeah, the, the worry is obviously firebombs," he said during a phone call in which the senior officer told him they had to stay in Yuendumu.

Const Hawkings told the coroner he wasn't sure if his reference to firebombs during the call was because of a specific bomb threat or a general reference to a community member "throwing something which might set something alight".

"I think there was some mention throughout the night of the health clinic being, attempted to be set alight ... that information had come to me," he said.

"So I had that thought, in the back of my mind, obviously if we were told to lock ourselves into a cell as part of our stronghold.

"If we were locked into a cell, then there is the potential, if the station was, by all means, potentially set alight, then we could get seriously injured."

Const Hawkings was part of the team that went to Mr Walker's grandmother's home to take him into custody.

He was outside with an AR15 assault rifle when Const Rolfe shot Mr Walker.

His body-worn camera recorded the deadly scene through an open door as the teen wrestled with another officer on a mattress after Const Rolfe had fired his first shot.

Const Hawkings told the coroner he didn't enter the building to help because it looked like Const Rolfe and the other officer had control of the situation, and the assault rifle would have made it difficult for him to engage at close quarters.

He rejected the assertion he carried the assault rifle to intimidate community members but accepted it could have occurred, saying he wanted to be ready "for anything that could transpire".

The inquest continues on Thursday.

Story by Aaron Bunch AAP

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