After hearing a high-profile death in custody was an accident, Lex Wotton smashed the Palm Island police station windows and invited an officer to shoot him.
“Why are you afraid?” he yelled when the officer did nothing.
“‘Cause everyone’s watching?”
A Federal Court trial has previously been shown footage of the man, who was jailed for inciting the riots sparked by Mulrunji Doomadgee’s 2004 death, telling a crowd “things gunna burn” after the coroner’s preliminary report found the local man had died as a result of tripping over a step.
Minutes later, the shirtless plumber walked up the road with an angry crowd and “attacked” the police station with an 80-90cm wrench.
“Hey, you want to kill someone?” Mr Wotton recalled yelling at then-Senior Sergeant Roger Whyte.
“Here, shoot me now.”
The police station and home of Mulrunji’s arresting officer, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, were razed in the riots.
Another video shot by a local shows Mr Wotton holding a shovel and a bent piece of galvanised pipe in the front yard of the police station.
“What were you angry about?” Counsel for the State of Queensland Mark Hinson QC asked.
“They (police) weren’t going to come out,” Mr Wotton said.
The groundbreaking trial will determine whether alleged police failures after Mulrunji’s death were racially discriminatory.
Among the complaints in the class action – launched by Mr Wotton on behalf of Palm Islanders – is that an emergency declaration, subsequent raids and arrests without warrants were excessive.
Mr Wotton said he was tasered after telling his children not to come outside, where balaclava-clad police were telling him to get down and put his hands behind his back.
He thought he’d been shot until he realised he was still standing and felt currents move through his body.
“I was concerned for my children,” he said.
“If they came out someone would panic and the police officer would shoot them.”
He also denied threatening to kill officers during the riots and said he did not tell them locals would burn them out if they stayed on the island.
Sen-Sgt Hurley was acquitted of Mulrunji’s manslaughter in 2007.
Mr Wotton said his first thought upon hearing of the death was “they’re going to cover it up”.
“I think my prediction was right” he said.
Justice Debbie Mortimer will determine whether the State of Queensland should pay compensation and damages to the community, which has also asked for an apology.
The trial continues in Townsville.