Officer acquitted by police of killing Indigenous Australian

DARWIN, Australia — The case in which he shot dead Indigenous Australian was the focus of protests after American George Floyd was killed in custody.

Constable Zachary Rolfe, 30, denied murdering Kumanjayi Walker after the 19-year-old stabbed the police officer with scissors on Nov. 9, 2019.

Rolfe also pleaded not guilty in the Northern Territory Supreme Court to the two alternative charges of manslaughter and violent act causing death. On Friday, he was also cleared by a jury.

Rolfe may have been the first Australian officer to be found guilty of murdering an Indigenous Australian prisoner.

Outside court, Rolfe said the jury had made “the right decision.”

“A lot of people are hurting today — Kumanjayi’s family and his community — and it did not need to get to this point, so I am going to leave this space for them,” Rolfe said.

Walker was killed after Rolfe fired three shots at him in Yuendumu, an Outback Indigenous community.

Walker’s death was protested at rallies around Australia that followed the death in police custody of Floyd, a Black man, in the United States in May 2020. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to more than 22 years in prison for Floyd’s murder.

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