On the 9th of November 2019, my cousin, Kumanjayi Walker, was shot and killed by an NT police officer in his home community of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory on the night of our grandfather’s funeral. Our family and community have been in a state of mourning ever since.
Zachary Rolfe, the police officer involved in the shooting of Kumanjayi, was charged with murder but was on bail for this charge.
For a year, we fought for Kumanjayi’s case to be committed to the supreme court. This involved extreme efforts and exhaustion- traveling from Yuendumu to Alice Springs (over 260 km) to be at the local court, hearing and seeing the evidence, arranging community meetings etc.
After a year's delay, the murder trial was set to take place in February 2022. We were relieved and overcome with emotions. Finally, we thought we were being heard. We had been so out of our depth with new information and procedures to follow. We were learning how to fight but trying to grieve at the same time. A very difficult task.
The Zachary Rolfe murder trial started on the 7th of February 2022 and concluded on the 11th of March 2022 in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in Darwin. Zachary Rolfe was charged with murder and two additional charges- manslaughter and engaging in a violent act causing death. Unfortunately, nothing prepared us for the outcome that Zachary Rolfe was acquitted of all charges.
Our family and community were (and still are) devastated. This was an emotional and difficult time for all family and community members involved. An experience we never want any other family to go through. There are no real words to describe our pain.
Despite this, we will always fight for Kumanjayi. This is not the end of his story!
On the 5th of September 2022, the Coronial Inquest into the Death of Kumanjayi Walker begins. It has been tabled for three long months.
As a community and family are devastated. The toll that the years of fighting for justice have taken on us is exhausting. We feel let down by the system but hope the coronial inquest will give us the answers to long-awaited questions and allow us to speak our truth.
It is important to us that, as a family and community, we are present in the inquest process for many reasons. First, being present ensures we are being heard and speaking for Kumanjayi, who can no longer speak for himself. Being in attendance means that we understand all the circumstances that lead to Kumanjayi’s death to ensure no other family needs to endure what we have!
To make this happen, we need your support! Please donate to this GoFund. We are seeking to raise an amount of $400.000.00, which will support our families directly. Your donations will ensure the family of Kumanjayi Walker are financially supported in the lead-up and throughout the coronial inquest. All money raised will provide an immeasurable amount of relief over such a lengthy period and experience which has been significantly traumatic.
We want to be transparent and explicitly clear on the purposes of this GoFund Me and where/how donations will be utilised in supporting Kumanjayi’s family and community with the following expenses expected throughout the inquiry:
Estimated Family Expenses
To fund the travel and stay of family representatives and community representatives throughout the coronial inquest.
To fund family and community members' travel through evidence collection and community meetings.
These costs are an estimate- Circumstances may change with rotations of family members.
Accommodation for family members: Estimate for 18 community/family members to be supported for 3 months. = $85,5000
Travel: Fuel costs for the families to travel to and from the court throughout the 3-month duration =$8000
Food: An estimated $50 per day per person for 3 months (92 days from 5th of Sep to 5th of Dec) = $4,600 per person for the 3 months / = $69,000
Estimated Legal Costs During Coronial Inquest
To fund lawyers, travel and stay in Alice Springs and Yuendumu throughout the coronial inquest.
Travel/Flights: $800 (one lawyer return) x 10 = $8,000
Driving to Yuendumu: $200 in one way, X 3 cars x 2 trips (return) = $1,200
Car hire for 3 days = $700.00 per car. X3 cars = $2,100
Accommodation at Yuendumu Guest house: X2 nights x3 people = $900. Will need this for 10 people = $3000
Alice Springs accommodation: $14,250 (one lawyer 3 months) x 10 = $142, 500
Estimated Legal Costs in the lead-up to the Coronial Inquest
To fund lawyers, travel in and out of Yuendumu + Papunya to talk to Kumanjayi’s family and community in the lead-up to the Coronial Inquest. This is to collect evidence and ensure the community's voices are heard in the inquest. Price breakdown like above.
To support any additional costs contributing to supporting family and community in preparation and during the coronial inquest.
Support at Alice Springs Lawns- food, drinks, shade etc
Community BBQ’s = $5000.00
Campaign Materials such as banners/placards /apparel/stationary costs = $10,000.00
Utilities for family = $15,000.00
The support we received from the public for the murder trial was invaluable. Without your donations to our previous Gofund Me, we could not have been present in Darwin. Your contributions made it possible for family members to attend the trial. It allowed for independent evidence collection and supported Kumanjayi’s funeral. We have been extremely grateful for the general public's generosity and could not have done this without you all. Thank you with love and gratitude!