Indonesian senior policeman quits as public anger mounts over cop death scandal

The junior police officer Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat was Ferdi Sambo's bodyguard. PHOTO: FACEBOOK.COM/ANDISYAMSU.ALAM.73

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - One of Indonesia's highest ranking police officers has resigned amid investigations into an alleged cover-up involving the death of a junior cop that has ignited public anger and fuelled criticisms of abuse of power.

The scandal is widely seen as a major setback for the national police force that has been trying to regain public trust following long-standing complaints of corruption and brutality.

The police chief of internal affairs Ferdi Sambo submitted his resignation though that is still being assessed, said the head of the national police force Listyo Sigit Prabowo at a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday (Aug 24). Prabowo did not elaborate on the reasons for the resignation.

Sambo was named a suspect and charged with the premeditated murder of a junior cop, whose death was initially portrayed by the police as a result of a gunfight with another officer.

The junior police officer Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat was Sambo's bodyguard and accused of sexually assaulting his wife at their residence, the police had previously claimed.

Several officers have since been suspended over the case and some politicians are calling for the resignation of the national police chief.

President President Joko Widodo has also weighed in, calling for complete transparency into investigations of the junior police officer's death.

Hutabarat's family have refused to accept the police's initial explanation for the death. They hired lawyers and demanded for an independent inquiry after they discovered bruises on his body that suggested torture could have taken place before his death.

Photos of Hutabarat's wounds were circulated on social media, triggering public sympathy and demands for justice.

As investigations deepen, a total of 97 officers have been rounded up for alleged ethics breaches and tampering with the crime scene.

It was also revealed that Sambo and other high-ranking officers were allegedly involved in an illegal gambling business, according to the police.

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