National News

NT Police defend probe into death of teen


The Northern Territory's new police chief says an investigation into how a 19-year-old Indigenous man came to be shot by a policeman in a remote community on the weekend will be independent and will seek the truth.

Kumanjayi Walker was shot at Yuendumu, 300 kilometres from Alice Springs, about 7pm on Saturday after two officers went to the property to arrest him.

Emotions are high in the remote community of less than 800 Warlpiri people, who are upset at the prospect of police investigating themselves over the shooting.

Protests have been held in Alice Springs and other Warlpiri indigenous communities calling for justice.

New NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker was sworn into his new role on Monday, replacing Reece Kershaw. His first job was holding a press conference where he confirmed there was body-worn camera footage of the shooting.

"This is a tragedy, everybody can be very reassured that we will investigate this fully on behalf of the coroner to ensure the outcome is subsequently available for public scrutiny," Mr Chalker told reporters.

"We will continue to work with the ICAC Commissioner (Office of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption) as well in respect to ensuring professional oversight in relation to that matter.

"We currently have (WA) assistant commissioner Nick Anticich on secondment here leading the professional standards investigation to this matter on my behalf and will continue to liaise with the ICAC commissioner and myself in coming days.

"This investigation will seek the truth, everybody in the Territory should be very assured of that."

However the Central Land Council, which represents the indigenous people of the southern half of the NT, said Mr Walker's family deserved an inquiry that was fully "independent of the NT Police, transparent and thorough".

"We want full transparency, we want to see the body camera evidence, we want it out in the open," CLC chief executive Joe Martin-Jard spoke at a rally in Alice Springs.

Mr Martin-Jard and CLC deputy chair Barbara Shaw commended the community's elders who called for calm and "kept the community together, respectfully and peacefully".

Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Michael White who is in Yuendumu said Mr Walker lunged at an officer as two policemen tried to arrest him.

He said Walker was armed - but police will not say what with - that an altercation occurred between Walker and one of the officers resulting in an officer being stabbed in the shoulder.

"During that time a struggle ensued and two shots were fired and he sadly passed away later," he said.

Police had allowed Walker to attend the funeral of a relative earlier that day.

Walker was released from prison on October 21 after serving eight months of a 16 month sentence for unlawful entry, property damage and stealing offences with the remainder suspended.

Police were arresting him for breaching the terms of his release, related to removing an electronic monitoring device and where he was living.

© AAP 2019