MAKASSAR, KOMPAS.com – The Indonesian National Police’s Regional Headquarters in the province of South Sulawesi have taken 16 policemen into custody for their complicity in the shooting of three men in the provincial capital Makassar on Sunday, August 30.
The incident left one man dead and the two others wounded.
“The Propam [Police Internal Affairs] took the policemen into custody for questioning. We also confiscated their firearms,” said South Sulawesi Police spokesman Police Chief Commissioner Ibrahim Tompo on September 2.
“They include an Police Brigadier US, the policeman who fired the shots. He claimed to shoot the men out of self-defense, after the mob did not heed his warning shots.”
Ibrahim added that the police are still going over the evidence. “We will question the men who were wounded once they are discharged from the hospital. We also secured CCTV footage of the incident and gathered evidence, such as stones and logs used in the fight.”
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The National Police Commission or Kompolnas urged the police to take firm action against their men if it is proven they committed any wrongdoing.
“If the men are proven to have used [excessive force], then they should be legally processed,” Kompolnas spokesperson Poengky Indarti told Kompas.com.
Poengky urged the police to improve relations with civilians after accounts that the officers drew their weapons when locals asked for their identification.
In contrast, the police’s official version maintained that locals attacked the detectives and accused them of being thieves even after the officers showed their IDs.
Poengky urged the police to be more transparent. “The police should be equipped with body cameras so their actions can be scrutinized,” she said. “[The use of body cameras] is also compatible with a 2009 law on applying human rights in law enforcement.”
Last weekend’s shooting occurred as plainclothes detectives in Makassar set out to arrest an individual suspected of assault. The detectives enquired about the suspect’s whereabouts with a group of intoxicated youths, who responded in a hostile manner.
The police officers claimed to fire warning shots before they fired at their assailants. Their shots wounded three men, who were identified as Anjas, Amal and Iqbal. Anjas died shortly after because of head wounds, while Amal and Iqbal were wounded with shots to the feet.
(Writers: Himawan, Makassar Contributor, Devina Halim | Editors: Dony Aprian, Teuku Muhammad Valdy Arief, Fabian Januarius Kuwado)