Police Mistakenly Beat Up Undercover Cop During Anti-Labour Law Protest
Published in Nov 2020 / Updated in Aug 2021
Typically, cops go all out to stand by one of their own. Even when a fellow officer does a despicable act of injustice to an innocent and helpless civilian before their very eyes, they can still look the other way.
You can imagine how strange it was for a cop to get a beating from his colleagues in public. This was during the ongoing labor law protests in Indonesia.
His crime was not that he was breaking any laws.
The officer’s error was that he was in plain clothes. That made it hard for anyone to see he was a cop.
The plain-clothed police officer was taken for a protester. For that reason, he was fair game to the uniformed colleague who started to hit him.
The officer in riot gear was doing what most cops do best when faced with angry protesting civilians – beating the hell out of them.
In fact, before this happened, cops could be seen in the video detaining and punching a man in a green university jacket. Such scenes are hardly newsworthy.
In protests, police brutality is in most cases the rule, not the exception.
In this case, the hoodie-wearing man this officer was hitting with a baton was actually another cop. It was just that he was not in an official police uniform like he was.
That’s when things went wrong. Another undercover cop told him to stop:
“Don’t hit him! That’s a police officer!”
A Fight Breaks Out
After giving the warning, the undercover cop started a fight with the uniformed officer for hitting his colleague. Only the involvement of other cops helped stop the fight.
This took place in the Taman Anggrek parking lot, which is located in Jambi, Indonesia. A group of university students was protesting the recently passed labor law.
The Controversial Labor Law
In early October, the country’s House of Representatives passed the highly controversial piece of legislation, labeled the Job Creation Law.
The whole process was done in a rush. Also, the impact the law had on workers’ rights was devastating, at least according to many interest groups.
To begin with, severance pay was cut. In addition, mandatory leave was done away with.
On top of that, the law also introduced dangers to land rights. Finally, the law also got rid of some key environmental protection measures by giving way to more deforestation.
Police Spokesman Denied The Man Getting Hit Was An officer
The matter of a cop getting beaten by fellow cops was denied by Jambi Police spokesperson, Sr. Commissioner Kuswahyudi Tresnadi.
Still, the spokesman said that the video was real. Nonetheless, he denied that the man getting hit with a baton was a police officer.
In a statement he made later concerning the incident recorded in the video, he said the following:
“Those who were detained were students who committed violence. [The man in the green jacket] fought back when the police captured him.”
However, he also added that the police were investigating the video further.
On that day, the chaos started after the police officers fired tear gas and used water cannons on student protesters. They were trying to disperse them.
The labor law being protested is believed by many activists to be unconstitutional.