Sat, 22 Feb 2003

'Police killing highlights unprofessionalism'

Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Thursday's fatal shooting by an officer of the police's paramilitary Mobile Brigade (Brimob), which took the life of innocent passer-by and wounded three others, shows the police are still far from being professional, say observers.

"This shooting simply demonstrates that the police are still falling far short of the public's expectations," said Erlangga Masdiana, a criminologist at the University of Indonesia.

Professionalism, Erlangga remarked, the need for which had been repeatedly emphasized by the police, was only an empty slogan as in many cases police officers were up to their necks in collusion, corruption and nepotism.

"We see that it has become the norm that when a police officer is appointed to a senior position, he will only give strategic jobs to his close confederates," Erlangga said.

At the lower level, Erlangga claimed that if one wanted to join the police as a recruit, Rp 15 million had to be paid to ensure acceptance.

Erlangga was commenting on the shooting incident, which took place hard on the heels of a bomb attack near National Police Headquarters that was allegedly committed by a middle-ranking officer, Adj. Sr. Comr. Anang Sumpena, a member of the police bomb squad.

Witnesses said that Adj. Brig. Mintori and his unidentified companion, both of whom were wearing police uniforms, had demanded protection money of Rp 50,000 (US$5.60) from a numbers' tout named Risti Eriko, 32. However, as the dealer refused to pay up, Mintori became enraged and shot Risti with his rifle. Risti was wounded in the leg.

Upon hearing the sound of gunfire, a mob chased Mintori and his companion. While making good their escape, Mintori fired into the crowd at random. Among those hit were Nurhikmah, 20, a resident of Duren Sawit, East Jakarta, who was riding a motorcycle along with her brother Sanusi. Nurhikmah was rushed to the Pondok Kopi Islamic Hospital nearby, but she later died.

Meanwhile, the National Police Mobile Brigade commander, Insp. Gen. SY. Wenas, said Mintori would be dishonorably discharged from the force.

The dismissal ceremony would be held at Brimob headquarters in Kelapa Dua, Depok, next Monday morning.

"He is being questioned at the moment at city police headquarters. He used an AK 101 rifle. According to the law on the police force, an officer who has committed crime will be investigated and prosecuted," Wenas said as quoted by

Nurhikmah was buried on Friday afternoon.

Sanusi, Nurhikmah's elder brother, demanded that Mintori get the death penalty.

"Our family wanted to see this guy face a firing squad," Sanusi said.