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When Those Asked to Protect Lose Self-Control

How Safe is Kuta? Four Kuta Community Guards Charged with Violent Homicide of Innocent Man.

Police have formally listed 4 members of Kuta’s Community Guard (Jagabaya Desa Adat Kuta) in the brutal beating death of a 25-year-old man from Jember, Mohammad Lufti (26), which was caught on film and shared widely via social media. The beating near “Ground Zero” administered in a gazebo owned by Panin Bank, occurred on Friday, January 24, 2020, when a large group of mostly uniformed “local security guards” set upon the man mistakenly identified as a motorcycle helmet thief.

As reported by Nusa Bali, the four Jagabaya Desa Adat members empowered and entrusted by the Kuta Community to keep the peace are now facing up to 12 years in prison for homicide. Police have arrested and charged I Wayan Mahendra also known as Hendra (26), I Wayan Widarta (48), I Wayan Sudanta (37), and I Wayan Miasa (39). All four men, shown on video striking, choking, and kicking the handcuffed man hail from Kuta. The four were named and identified by the head of the Denpasar Police Precinct, Police Commissioner Ruddi Setiawan, in a meeting with the press on Thursday, February 2, 2020.

According to the recapitulation of the beating supplied by Setiawan, Mahendra stomped on the victim's thigh, struck Lufti’s left shoulder, and kicked the victim while wearing a pair of boots. Police say Widarta also stomped on the man’s thigh while wearing boots. Meanwhile, Miasa right-kneed the man who was already lying face down on the floor of the small pavilion.

At the end of the beating, Lufti was unresponsive at which point he was handed to police from the Kuta Police Precinct. Police brought the unconscious man to a local clinic that quickly referred him the Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital.

Lufti Mohammad, who was employed as a construction worker, clung to life for a few hours before succumbing to the injuries delivered during his beating after being treated in the intensive care section of the hospital.

Police were aided in their investigation by a video (shown) of the beating that became viral on social media.

Police Commission Ruddi Setiawan, commenting on the incident, said: “I wish to emphasize to all security personnel, whether community volunteers or from the general public, that they must not act as judge and jury. If you find a suspect of a crime then that person should be taken into protective custody. Leave the rest to law enforcement.”

All four men were taken into custody by police at their homes in various locations across Kuta on Friday, January 31, 2020, 3 days after the alleged murderous attack took place.

Warning: The Contents of This Video May be Upsetting

Police said that although there was a large crowd shown in the incriminating video playing on social media, only the four men arrested could be conclusively identified by police as assaulting the victim.

In addition, police said there was no evidence supporting allegations that the dead man was involved in the theft of a helmet. Police said the dead man had no criminal record prior to his death. An autopsy performed on Lufti’s body revealed he died due to bleeding in the area of his neck and head resulting from blows delivered by blunt objects. Police said the injuries were consistent with the kicks delivered to the man’s body.

At the time of the arrest, police seized 3 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of sandals, and Jagabaya Uniforms.

All four suspects are being charged under Section 170 paragraphs 2 & 3 of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) on violence committed in public resulting in the death of the victim. The maximum penalty provided under this law is 12 years in prison.

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