Investigation finds Malang police chief order to shoot Papuans violated discipline

CNN Indonesia – April 22, 2021
Papuan students in Malang commemorate International Women's Day – March 8, 2021 (WhatsApp)

Jakarta – The results of an investigation by the police's professionalism and security affairs division (Propam) has found that Malang municipal police chief Senior Commissioner Leonardus Simarmata committed a disciplinary violation when he allegedly threatened to shoot Papuan students at the Malang municipal police headquarters in March.

This was discovered based on a Propam investigation progress notification (SP2HP2) obtained by CNN Indonesia dated April 19, 2021. The notification was obtained by Michael Hilman, the lawyer representing the students who submitted a complaint over the incident with the national police headquarters Propam.

"From the investigation results, enough evidence was found against Senior Commissioner Leonardus Simarmata alleging that the East Java regional police Malang city municipal police chief committed a disciplinary violation as a member of the national police", read the notification.

In the notification, it explained that the case would be handed over to the East Java regional police chief as his superior who is authorised to hand down a punishment in order to obtain legal certainly.

CNN Indonesia has attempted to confirm the investigation result with the head of Propam, Inspector General Ferdy Sambo, but has still not received a response.

Simarmata was officially reported to Propam by Papuan students on Friday March 12 for alleged racism and discrimination.

When making the report, Hilman explained that the alleged racism and discrimination took place when Simarmata ordered his officers to shoot any Papuan students who attempted to enter the Malang municipal police headquarters on Monday March 8.

In a video circulating on social media, a police officer can be heard ordering officers to shoot the Papuan students.

"If you cross the fence line, it'll be halal darah [a lawful or legitimate killing under Islam], shot dead. Halal darah, shot dead. If you enter the gates, you will be halal darah", shouts a voice which can be heard on the video circulating on Social Media on Tuesday March 9.

One of the accounts which has shared the video is a Twitter account belonging to Papuan activist Veronica Koman, @VeronicaKoman.

At the time, East Java regional police public relations head, Senior Commissioner Gatot Repli Handoko, said that the video had been intentionally edited and was incomplete.

The order, he said, was made because the Papuan students were threatening to force their way into the Malang municipal police headquarters so the police repeatedly warned them not to do this.

"The narrative was not actually like that, it was actually just a piece of a sentence which was cut by those making the video, intentionally", Handoko told journalists on March 9. (yoa/pmg)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kapolres Malang Diduga Melanggar soal Ancam Tembak Mahasiswa".]