Police brutality is all well and good if the cop apologizes afterwards seems to be the most apt interpretation of how authorities in Tangerang Regency handled an outrageous incident that could have seriously harmed a protester.
Yesterday, a group of university students protested outside Tangerang Regent Ahmed Zaki Iskandar's office to air their grievances about various issues in the regency. The protest escalated into chaos as riot police arrived at the scene to disperse the crowd.
In the amateur video, a police officer in riot gear can be seen grabbing a college student in a chokehold from behind before he slammed the protester hard on the ground. The impact caused the student to have what looked like a seizure and knocked him out cold. The cop seemed to immediately realize the severity of his heavy-handed approach, pushing away another totally badass police officer who so bravely landed a kick on the protester while he was down.
As the footage went viral and drew outrage from across the nation, the student, who has been identified as Faris, posted a video from the Tangerang Police HQ later that day. He said he was fine and clarified that he was not dead, as some had speculated online.
The police officer, who was identified only by his initials NP, was also present at the HQ. With a mask on and a T-shirt that reads, "I'm a good cop," he apologized to Faris and hugged the college student while cameras were present.
"I am ready to accept responsibility for my actions. I apologize for what I did to [Faris and his family]," NP said.
NP is reportedly being investigated by internal affairs and may face sanctions for violent conduct towards a civilian.
While he also apologized on behalf of NP, Tangerang Police Chief Wahyu Sri Bintoro defended his subordinate, saying that he did not set out to deliberately harm Faris.
"[NP] said that it was a spur of the moment and he did not intend to harm the victim," he said.
Wahyu also reiterated that medical examinations showed that Faris was fine and did not suffer from any severe injuries.
The Indonesian National Police has come under intense scrutiny lately, mainly over this incident and its alleged refusal to accept criticism in its handling of an incestuous rape case.