Barrage of criticisms have overwhelmed the operations of the Liberian National Police (LNP) in recent time due to the alleged illegal discharge of fire arms that killed innocent Liberians at varying points. Kingsville Shooting Incident; Alleged “Aggravated Assault” case, Budget Bureau Community Shooting, New Georgia Road Incident Investigative Report, Shooting Incident in Sinoe. Most of these irking police operations and other issues have been raising eyebrows on the operations of the Liberia National Police, especially in cases that resulted to the death of people presumed to be innocent and unarmed civilians. The LNP, apparently wanting to be evitable in the court of public opinions takes seize of the situation and released findings of investigations in the debacle that the public faces with the police; The ANALYST reports.
According to the Liberia National Police “as a law enforcement institution, one of our cardinal responsibilities is to protect lives and properties of all persons irrespective of who they are, appear or found to be (victim and or suspect) says her actions or inactions in the law enforcement arena in the country speak volume to the public and the world at large as she performs her statutory duties and responsibilities within the public space, and therefore noted that all members and officials of the Liberia National Police against that backdrop are held liable as a matter of training to act beyond reproach as they handle all situations and people encounter during and off duty, particularly those who are considered to be aggressors”.
The LNP also reported in a statement issued Monday, July 8, 2019, that she has acted on a number of police misconducts that were brought to her attention including situations encounter in Kingsville, Budget Bureau Community, the New Georgia Road Incident and the Shooting Incident in Sinoe amongst others respectively, and subsequently released findings of its investigations into these incidents.
According to the Police statement, the LNP authorities upon being informed of a shooting incident in Kingsville #7, District #1, Montserrado County on June 24, 2019, the LNP immediately recalled the officers who responded to the incident and mandated the Professional Standards Department along with an Investigative Team (IT) to probe circumstances surrounding the ‘Shooting’ incident at the Kingsville # 7 area on the Monrovia Kakata Highway which resulted to injuries including that of the his left foot of Saah Saah, age 18; the his left leg tibia of Dave Mombo, age 18, and injury on his head of Abraham Tomay, age 17, resulting to death.
Additionally, Insp. Morris Dahn of the Police Support Unit, and Sgt. Gbornima Barmabia of the Montserrado County Police also sustained injuries in the leg and head respectively, the Police statement said, adding that these officers were initially treated at C. H Rennie Hospital in Margibi County and referred to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center.
Giving synopsis of the investigation, the LNP said in her statement that while the Liberia National Police was at the verge of reaching a logical conclusion of the investigation into the mysterious deaths of the two children, Thomas Kollie, age10 and Elijah Porluma, age 9 of the Kingsville Township, #7, some aggrieved residents of the Kingsville Township, Montserrado County, staged what the police referred to as “an illegal protest” on Monday, June 24, 2019 by setting-up road blocks thereby obstructing the free flow of human and vehicular traffic.
The aggrieved residents indicated that their protest was triggered by the alleged delay in the police investigation regarding the mysterious deaths of the two children. “Upon receipt of the information about the illegal protest, the authority of the Liberia National Police dispatched the Careysburg Detachment led by its Executive Officer (EO) to ascertain the situation. Based on the feedback from the EO, a ten-man Police Support Unit team led by Inspector Vincent Abban was also dispatched on the scene of the illegal protest to negotiate with the rioters to have the road blocks removed,” the LNP explained.
The Police statement asserted that all efforts to dialogue and negotiate with the rioters to have the road blocks removed proved futile even with the involvement of responding officers along with other prominent citizens including Hon. Lester Binda, Superintendent of the Careysburg Statutory District, and Hon. James Porkpah, Assistant Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Health.
“As a result of the escalation of the violence, the Careysburg Police were unable to contain the situation, thus, causing C/Supt. Johnson to report the escalation to authority through the appropriate chain of command,” the statement furthered.
Subsequently, the LNP said PSU officers headed by Insp. Vincent C. Abban took charge of the incident, pointing out that as the negotiation failed and the PSU attempted to remove the road block through riot control tactics, the rioters started throwing stones at which time there was shooting by Police officers.
Concerning administrative actions, the LNP said she has appropriately disrobed accused officers, Insp. Morris M. Dahn, ID #:0784, Sgt. Emmanuel S. Melikamue, ID # 0765, Patrolman Thompson W. Pobleh, ID # 2680 and Patrolman Josephus M. Lewis, ID # 4537 and interdicted them with 2/3 salary payment in accordance with Part IV, Section 22.91, letter ‘h’ of the LNP Act of 2015.
The statement disclosed that they are also turned over to the Crime Services Department for criminal investigation for discharging their firearms illegally which resulted into serious bodily injuries of three persons; Saah Saah, Dave Mombo and Abraham Tomay and subsequently leading to the death of Abraham Tomay at the Du-Side Hospital in Harbel Firestone on June 25, 2019.
Furthermore, the statement accentuated that the responding PSU Team Leader, Insp. Vincent C. Abban, ID #0444 has been dismissed from the Liberia National Police for breaching the LNP Duty Manual Chapters 18.104.22.168 and the Police Support Unit Standard Operating Procedures & New Organizational Structure Chapter 5.3 paragraph two, leading to poor supervision that resulted to some of the officers under his supervision discharging their firearms consequentially leading to Abraham Tomay’s death of one person, and injuring two persons.
Justifying the punitive action, the LNP statement mentioned that Insp. Abban did not adhere to the operations order “NO LETHAL WEAPON”, stating that the use of firearms could have been avoided had Insp. Abban disengaged and wait for backup as he was advised by one of the team members, Josephine Sackor as established by this investigation.
The statement also disclosed that the Head of the Operations Department, Commissioner Walter B. Wray II, has been suspended one month off the job with the appropriate salary cut and referred for Leadership training after serving the suspension for failure to follow through the PSU team scope of operation.
The LNP said he was earlier ordered the use of tear gas to remove the road blocks as confirmed in his observation paragraph 3, first sentence which quoted Commissioner Wray II as saying, “I did not get any information until the DIGP/ADM & Acting Inspector General, Hon. Sadatu Reeves (U-101) called and informed me of shooting in the Kingsville area and someone was wounded.”
DCP. Godfrey K. Kollie, has also been suspended for two months off the job with the appropriate salary cut and will be sent for Leadership training after serving the suspension for his failure to designate someone in the Chain of Command to act in his absence.
Additionally, the police administration said he failed to submit an incident report through the chain of command about the incident. “Furthermore, he failed to comply with request from this investigation to produce a written report within 12 hours after the occurrence of the incident as stated in the Police Support Unit Standard Operating Procedures & New Organizational Structure Chapter 5.3 paragraph two.
Police Support Unit Standard Operating Procedures & New Organizational Structure Chapter 5.3 paragraph two states “Immediately, after an occurrence of an incident involving the use of force or firearms or other items of law enforcement equipment and regardless of whether or not such use resulted in death or injury to people or damage to property, the member of PSU concerned must verbally inform the PSU Commander through the chain of command followed by a written report in Annex “J” hereof, including the details of the incident within twelve (12) hours from the time of its occurrence”.
In a related development, the LNP suspended ACP Wadell Kwabo for three months off the job with appropriate salary cut and will be sent for Leadership training after serving the suspension for his failure to delegate responsibility to other Command level Officers assigned within the ranks and files of the Police Support Unit, since indeed he was on the another scene, situation which led to endangering the lives of members of Liberia National Police, the civilian and public at large.
Similarly, the LNP said it has also investigated report into Mysterious Death of two kids in Kingsville for which the charged Samuel Sayou and P. MulbahYanbakulo Circumstantially with murder in violation of Chapter 14, Section 14.1 of the revised penal Code of the Republic of Liberia.
The Liberia national Police also said it further probed report into Alleged Aggravated Assault Case for the police charged, suspects Philip Peters, age 48 and Annie S. Wilson, age 43, a Police Officer assigned with the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberia National Police with the crime of Aggravated Assault in violation of Chapter 14.20 Sub-Chapter B, Section 14.20 of the New Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia;
Police officer Sgt. Joseph L. Abdullah is already in connection to the Sinoe Shooting Incident which resulted to the death of a man identified as Mohammed Kamara in the Fish Town Community and mandated the Professional Standards Department to investigate Chief Inspector Humphrey Kahn for illegally discharging his firearm on June 25, 2019, in the St. Michael, New Georgia, Gardnersville while attempting to arrest a stolen motorbike suspect.
In the same vein, the Administration of the Liberia National Police mandated the Professional Standards Department to investigate Chief Inspector Peecho F. Worjloh for illegally discharging his firearm on June 30, 2019 in the Budget Bureau Community, amongst others actions.