Wed, 07 May 2003

Police find cop innocent in Cirebon bus driver shooting

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

The police officer who shot dead a bus driver in a dispute that resulted in an attack on a police station in the West Java town of Cirebon, had followed the proper procedures and thus did nothing wrong, said the West Java police chief on Tuesday.

West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Dadang Garnida said that the preliminary investigation into the shooting showed that the police officer had handled the suspect according to police procedures.

Moreover, he said, the bus driver had died from a ricocheting bullet which hit his head, and not a direct shot to the head as initially reported.

"The news reported that a police officer shot someone, and this led to the attack against the police station on Sunday morning," Dadang said.

On Sunday, a mob of about 100 bus drivers and crew attacked the Palimanan police station upon hearing news of the death of their colleague, 29-year old Anjani.

A bus driver for the Bhineka bus company, Anjani died after police officer Bambang chased him for rear-ending his car.

Bambang told the police that he fired three warning shots into the air before firing the bullet that allegedly hit Anjani. Witnesses confirmed his statement, said Dadang.

The West Java Police chief, however, did not say where the last shot had been aimed.

Forensics found six pieces of shrapnel from the bullet in the right-hand side of the victim's head. They said the bullet must have ricocheted off another object before bullet fragments hit and killed Anjani.

Dadang said he was convinced that Bambang was not guilty, adding that the forensic report showed Anjani was driving while intoxicated.

"Now, imagine if he (Anjani) wasn't stopped at that time, how many more would have become victims, considering that in his drunken state, he rammed everything in his way," he said.

The shooting incident occurred after Dadang's car, a Daihatsu Taft, was rear-ended by a bus driven by Anjani, who ran from the scene of the accident. Bambang gave chase in a Suzuki Escudo and caught up with Anjani only after he hit a parked bus and a food stall and came to a stop.

Anjani's death prompted Dadang to suspend Bambang, pending the completion of the investigation.

"Because he (Bambang) was right (in his actions), as a member of the force we have to help him by rehabilitating his name. But if a prosecutor finds new evidence showing that he might be guilty, then he will be tried in a court of law," said Dadang.