Liberia: Police Officer in Court for Killing Civilian 

Officer James Togba of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Emergency Response Unit (ERU).

An officer of the Liberia National Police who allegedly shot and killed an unarmed civilian has been arraigned before the Monrovia City Court, to answer to his murder charge. 

Officer James Togba of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Emergency Response Unit (ERU), on July 4  allegedly shot and killed Olando Broh, an unarmed civilian in the Point Four community.  According to eyewitnesses, the victim posed no threat to the officer.

Togba has since been disrobed, indicted, and charged for murder, in violation of the revised penal law of Liberia, Article 14, Sub-chapter A, 14.1, based on available facts established by the police investigators, thus linking him to the commission of the crime.

His appearance in court comes just a day after Patrick Kollie of the presidential guard — the Executive Protection Service (EPS) — also appeared in court to answer to the charge of murder after he also shot to death an unarmed civilian, Valentine Johnson on the same day, July 4. This incident took place in the Police Academy Community, Paynesville City, while Johnson was in Point Four, Bushrod Island.

A government post-mortem examination on the late Olando Broh shows that he died of a bullet that hit his chest beneath the right breast. As for the late Valentine Johnson, the bullet wound injured his left eye.

Togba, the court records allege, used his assigned Smith and Wesson 9mm (9-millimeter) pistol to commit the alleged murder. His alleged crime, whose motive is yet unknown, brings to mind the reckless handling of firearms by state security actors from time to time.  

The killings of Olando Broh and Valentine Johnson by state security officers on the same day bring to mind several other incidents over the last decade where security officers fatally discharged their assigned firearms against unarmed civilians that were not a threat.

The court record notes that Togba on July 4 during the evening hours, committed the crime behind the Liberia Electricity Corporation power plant in Point Four where he had gone to solicit money from some drug addicts.

But while finding it tough to achieve his plan, the court record noted, he began to damage the den where the addicts stayed. He then took a few steps back, pulled out his weapon, and shot directly at the drug addict, instantly killing his victim.

“Togba got irritated after resistance from the occupant of the area who was not willing to pay money this time around; therefore, he decided to exhibit extreme indifference to the value of human life, by pulling out his assigned pistol and discharging same directly at the victim, that hit and left him to bleed profusely, resulting to his death,” the court record alleged.

The court record noted that after he had committed the crime, Togba attempted to escape, but was caught by the other drug-addicted youths who disarmed and beat him unmercifully.” 

However, officers of the National Security Agency (NSA) managed to rescue Togba, the court document said. The court records claimed that Tobgba regularly used his position as a police officer to solicit money from the youth in the area where the incident occurred, despite the place being a ghetto.

Elsewhere, Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue has expressed “zero tolerance in dealing with any officer who engages in unorthodox practice(s) tantamount to undermining the image of our institution.”

Sudue cautioned other officers to comport themselves professionally and treat peaceful citizens with compassion while discharging their statutory responsibilities. He added that under his watch, no officer(s) will abuse any citizen and go with impunity.