A murder by the police?

I would have written about this earlier had I not been away.

I read with total disbelief about the totally unprovoked, unnecessary and unprofessional killing of a 14-year-old boy by the police in the early hours of the April 26, 2010.

The police as usual, with its standard apathetic “statement” to the media, said:

“Seorang yang disyaki penyamun ditembak polis awal pagi di Seksyen 11 Shah Alam… sebilah parang dijumpai di dalam kereta disyaki digunakan sebagai senjata untuk menyamun… suspek kedua berjaya melepaskan diri..”

(A person who was a suspected robber was shot by the police early this morning at section 11 Shah Alam .... a machete was found in the car which was suspected as the weapon used in robbery .... a second suspect successfully ran away ...” ) — translated by me.

YB Khalid Samad has a clear account of the incident on his blog.

I am aghast at the statement issued by the police. It is insensitive, irresponsible and in fact laced with so much bad intention.

On what ground and evidence did the police conclude that the 14-year-old victim was a “suspected robber”?

Read the account at YB Khalid Samad’s blog. Read also the police report lodged by the “second suspect” who had apparently successfully ran away.

The police were clearly chasing the car driven by the victim for some traffic offences. That was all. Was there a necessity to shoot the driver? Can’t 2 patrol cars overtake a Proton Iswara and stop them? What kind of drivers were the police, so much so that they have to resort to shooting the driver to stop a Proton Iswara driven by a 14-year-old?

And to repeat my first question, what made the police to conclude that the 14-year-old boy was a suspected robber and his passenger friend a “second suspect”?

The “parang” story was obviously an attempt at justifying the killing. So, if someone carried a parang, he could justifiably be shot to death is it? Even on that assumption, how did the police see the parang in the boot before shooting the 14-year-old boy?

As could be seen from the “second suspect’s” police report, he had wanted to surrender. But he was kicked and stepped on by the policemen. He then ran away.

This kicking culture among the police is well known. That was what happened to Norizan Salleh, the woman who was shot not once, twice or thrice, but a good FIVE times by the police but fortunately lives on to tell the tale. She was also stepped on and kicked after being shot five times.

In the incident here, was there a necessity to kick the boy? Can’t the police see that he was just a terrified boy? The boy was coming out from the driver’s side which means he had to move the body of his 14-year-old friend who was then dead. Wasn’t it a priority to check what had happened to the victim who was then lying dead rather than to kick the other boy?

And when he ran away, was he chased? Was there any attempt to arrest the “second suspect”? Or are the police trying to imply that 3-4 adult policemen could not chase and apprehend the “second suspect”, who also happened to be a boy?

They drove a patrol car and could not overtake an Iswara. Then they also could not chase and apprehend a boy?

Why didn’t they just shoot the “second suspect” then? After all he, like the victim, was a suspected robber, no? Why the double standard? Just shoot him, like what they did to the victim. After all, there was a “parang” in the car. And the “parang” was suspected to have been used in robberies.

The response from the police later left me numbed. The 4 officers had now been assigned to desk duties.

Why were they not suspended? The case has been classified as a murder case, according to the police themselves. And that was done to show how serious the police are about the case.

So, now, we have 4 police officers, who are being investigated in a murder case, who are still carrying weapons and a police identity card. What if they use their position as such to intimidate the “second suspect”, who is just a boy? How?

Sometimes I wonder where some of us have retired their brains to. Junksville?

The response from the Home Minister is almost standard. We are sorry. We will investigate this fully and transparently. We will have a special task force to do this. And rest assured the task force will be independent and there will be no interference. Blah, blah, blah... (Kesha’s song is running in my head now!).

The thing is this. Let us all not forget that this has happened far too many times for our comfort. Kugan has died. After Kugan, there was another case of death in the cell. Norizan was shot. Now Aminulrasyid. Every now and then, we read or hear news about the police opening fire and “killing 6 suspected robbers/gang members/whatever”.

I read somewhere yesterday that the Indonesian government is questioning the killing of three of their citizens recently.

We can have this and that task farce, eh, sorry, task force. We can have a 40,000 word report about this and that incidents. Nothing is going to change the police and their propensity for pulling the trigger.

The rules and regulations pertaining to the discharge of fire arms by the police must be tighten and made public.

And there must be tangible effort to restore public confidence in our police force.

The establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as recommended by a Royal Commission, would be a good starting point.

I wonder why the Home Minister and the government so reluctant in establishing the IPCMC. After all, it wasn’t some Tom, Dick or Kamal who had suggested its establishment. It was recommended by a Royal Commission established by the government itself!

I hope Aminurasyid did not die in vain.

Al-Fatihah to him. And my deepest condolence to his parents, family members and friends.



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