A cop in Jakarta may be in trouble for allegedly uttering a derogatory ethnic stereotype remark towards a citizen after the latter did not slip in something extra when filing a lost items report.
A man, identified by his initials RA, recently saw his tweet go viral in which he detailed a visit to Palmerah Police Station in West Jakarta.
According to RA, he went to the station to report that he had lost his bankbook.
“After I filed it, [the officer] said, ‘just a thank you?’ And then I said yes, because I know that the rules state that there is no bribery in the police force,” RA recalled the incident.
“When I opened the door [to leave the office], he shouted at me, ‘such a stingy Padangnese!’”
Here’s some cultural context: perhaps due to their entrepreneurial spirit, the people of the Padang tribe (also known as Minangnese) do have a reputation in Indonesia for being avaricious, or, at least, stingy and careful with spending money.
Still, the stereotype is considered derogatory, especially in the context of the officer’s remark. As such, RA’s story triggered outrage online not only for the ethnic stereotype, but also for the officer’s apparent solicitation of a bribe.
Yesterday evening, Palmerah Police Chief Dodi Abdulrohim publicly apologized to RA.
“This is a moment for us to improve our supervision of the officers and to maximize our service to the public,” he said.
Dodi added that the officer in question is being investigated by Internal Affairs for hate speech towards RA, and may face disciplinary sanctions. Another officer may also be investigated for their alleged involvement in the scandal.