City police summon eight officers over gunshot injury
The Jakarta Police says it has summoned eight officers who were carrying hand guns at a rally Wednesday in which one student protest received a gunshot wound to the leg.
“We have summoned eight officers from different units who were carrying revolvers while safeguarding the rally,” police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar told reporters Thursday.
Boy said the investigation would determine whether the officer’s action to fire his weapon at the rally was in line with procedures.
On Wednesday, about 100 protesters, mainly students, blocked roads in front of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation office. As police sought to divide and disperse the crowd, a student, Farel Restu, 20, received a gunshot to his leg.
Boy said the police had been forced to fire warning shots to disperse the rally that marked the end of the first year of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s second term in office, as the students were attacking the police.
“The rally was held illegally since the protesters failed to report the event to the police,” Boy said, adding that the road blocks had disturbed the public.
A forensic doctor from Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital, where Farel was treated, said the student had been wounded by a bullet that had ricocheted off the ground.
“[It is] an indirect gunshot wound. The bullet entered Farel’s leg from the ground,” forensic doctor Munim Idris said as quoted by Antara news agency. The hospital confirmed the bullet was metal.
Jakarta police chief Insp. Gen. Sutarman told reporters after visiting Farel in the hospital Thursday that the officers who were being questioned over the incident had opened fire without having received orders to do so.
“According to police procedures, officers must carry riffles and not hand guns, when dealing with demonstrations,” Sutarman said as quoted by Antara.
Haris Azhar from the Commission for Disappearances and Victims of Violence (Kontras) who was at the rally said the police should impose sterner sanctions on officers who committed violence.
“Measures such as suspending those who violate police procedures and ethics is not enough. What if the gunshot had caused more damage?” he told The Jakarta Post.
Referring to the officer in question’s decision to discharge his weapon, Haris said, “It is an emotional measure and unprofessional”.
“It is a violation and violence; and there is no excuse for that. The police could take soft measures in handling protests, such as retreating as a form of defense if a student [rally] situation becomes too heated,”
Eyewitness Asep Asyari, a UIN Syarif Hidayatullah student, said the officers’ gunshots had been deliberately aimed at the protesters, and were not warning shots.
“We also have proof — an X-ray of Farel’s wounded leg — that shows that it was a real bullet.
“It was not a rubber bullet for handling riots,” he said as quoted by Kompas.com. (ipa)
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