Things Not as They Seemed, Say Confused Police Over LSD Shambles

JANUARY 28, 2015

Jakarta. Police in the capital spent much of Wednesday defending their bungled investigation into a college student alleged to be responsible for the deaths of four people in a hit-and-run on Jan. 20.

Allegations of corruption against the police were made by many on social media in Indonesia on Wednesday after police downgraded the charges against Christopher Daniel Sjarif.

Police say that at around 8 p.m. on Jan. 20 Christopher Daniel Sjarif smashed into a motorcycle in Pondok Indah, South Jakarta, before fleeing the scene and crashing into a car, a truck and six motorcycles. Four people died in the rampage.

But that was not the full version of the horrific incident according to police last week. On Jan. 22, the head of South Jakarta traffic police, Adj. Sr. Comr. Sutimin, said that police had confirmed the presence of hallucinogen LSD in Christopher's system. Police would later tell reporters that Christopher had confessed to taking LSD.

On the evening of Jan. 27, however, police said that they could now confirm LSD was not present in Christopher's system and that his confession had been made, presumably, in error.

The police dismissed as lazy cynicism any speculation on social media that corruption was to blame for the change in the police's position.

"If there is such an allegation it's 100 percent untrue," Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Martinus Sitompu said. "We are professional and proportional in conducting the investigation. Don't think in a negative way. We have nothing to hide, especially knowing that this case has received public attention. Of course we're trying our best."

Martinus did not, however, acknowledge that it was a grave policing error to have confirmed to reporters the presence of LSD in Christopher's system before being in possession of the facts.

"I received the information from his statement and preliminary physical test, but then we had to test it," Martinus said. "His statement is not counted as complete [evidence], so that was why we waited for the test result from the BNN [National Narcotics Agency] and the National Police Forensic Lab.

"The result from BNN and the lab will be used for the investigation."

Head of Jakarta Police's Health Division Sr. Comr. Musyafak supported the claim.

"We from the health division conducted several tests. We took his urine on Wednesday morning... all showed negative results, including for morphine and benzodiazepine. For a second opinion, we also ran similar tests with the BNN and National Police Hospital. Both gave negative results," Musyafak said.

But Musyafak also conceded that Christopher had previously confessed to police that he had taken LSD. And it is still unclear why the head of South Jakarta police's traffic division, Adj. Sr. Comr. Sutimin, said on Jan. 22. that “Jakarta Police have confirmed that the urine test came back positive for LSD."

"The previous result saying that he was 'believed to or 'might be' using LSD is not wrong as it was based on his statement," Musyafak said. "He said that he used a half a tab, but we didn't believe or accept that right away. That's why we checked it with the BNN.

"This is a pure accident."