Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – The Indonesian Ombudsman has accused the National Police of maladministration while handling a string of post-election protests in Jakarta in May, which killed at least eight people and injured hundreds of others.
Ombudsman official Ninik Rahayu said the maladministration had led to fatalities.
"[...] The police have to evaluate their SOP [standard operating procedure] in handling such protests to avoid casualties," she said Thursday.
The police's use of excessive force became a national discussion after footage of officers beating an unarmed man went viral on the internet shortly after the protest on May 22.
At that time, The Jakarta Post confirmed that 15-year-old Muhammad Harun Rasyid was among the people who were killed during the riots, though his cause of death remains unknown.
The police were quick to dismiss accusations of brutality by claiming that the man in the video was an alleged rioter identified as Andri Bibir, who did not look severely beaten when the police held a press conference a few days later.
Ninik from the Ombudsman further claimed that the police had abused their power and committing unlawful acts while handling the riots as well as rioters, particularly those who were underage.
Minors involved in the riots were not appropriately handled as regulated in Law No. 11/2012 on juvenile crimes, she said.
"Investigations on nine minors [allegedly taking part in the riots] were conducted investigators from the police's Resmob [mobile detectives] unit, not from the PPA [women's and child protection] unit as regulated," Ninik said as quoted by kompas.com.
The Ombudsman's findings, however, were rejected by the National Police. According to Ninik, the police denied the reports as the institution did not have the authority to conduct such an investigation on the nine minors.