— It has been more than three weeks since Sgt. Rebecca Nimely reported that she was assaulted by her male superior. Such a case should have taken not more than 48 hours.
A mid-level police officer has accused the Liberia National Police of cover-up and lies to protect a senior male officer who is been investigated for physical assault against her.
Sergeant Rebecca Nimely, who was assaulted by Maryland County Police Commander Col. Jacob Cummeh on April 4, 2021 on the premises of the Liberia National Police (LNP) detachment in Maryland County, has indicted the leadership of the police of denying her justice and engaging in acts that protect the abuser, who “mercilessly beat her in public space.”
Sgt. Nimely, who is the Deputy Head of the Women, Children, and Social Protection Division of the Liberia National Police (LNP) detachment in Maryland County, disclosed that police authorities are stubbornly refusing to make available findings from her case despite having closed the investigation.
“I will not sit here and allow that man to fly all around here while I am feeling the pain, then my bosses are telling me to go back and wait for three months. So, who am I? I am not a human being? If we can deal with civilian cases within 48 hours and send them to court, why can’t you do the same thing with this other case,” Sgt. Nimely added.
According to Sgt. Nimely, instead of the police authorities prosecuting Col. Cummeh, she is being asked to return to Maryland County, where the assault took place, while her abuser is walking around freely without justice.
Stg. Nimely furthered that although she has been hearing in the past that hierarchies of the police often covered up abuses committed by male police officers, she never believed it until now.
“The police authorities are now telling me to go back to Maryland and wait for three (3) months before my case can be heard, but I cannot go back without justice and do not feel safe working in Maryland anymore. The social stigmatize is too much and the shame is unbearable,” Sgt. Nimely added.
“Right now, I am broke and do not have transportation fare for this trip. I cannot understand on what grounds I am being asked to go when I have a case pending before them. Really, I’m confused and speechless on the whole matter and how this case is being handled by the Professional Standards Division of the Liberia National Police,” she explained.
Sgt. Nimely furthered that the action by the police, particularly personnel in the Professional Standards Division of the LNP to demand her swift return to work in Maryland County, is appealing and shocking and totally uncalled for and intimidating.
“I am not returning until I get justice,” she said emphatically. “The investigation is finished but the leadership of the police is playing cover-up. As such, they are delaying the release of the report or its findings, which is unfair to me. I do not know their reason behind this, but they are denying me justice.
“I want the report to be released so I can know who is right or wrong, but this is not the case, as I am being told to return to my area of assignment and within the course of three months before they will call me and release the findings from the investigation,” Sgt. Nimely noted.
How did the assault happen?
The assault, according to Sgt. Nimley, occurred after she had returned from patrol with some officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) and met her landlord seated at the police depot with no clothes and footwear on. She immediately went to inquire about his arrest.
“But in no time my boss came and started insulting and calling me all types of names.
“I inquired to know what exactly happened that led to [my landlord’s] arrest and subsequent placement on the ground like a criminal. But being that he is exceptionally unmannered in his utterances to women, he did not listen to me, rather started verbally abusing me before going physically.
“Being a commander does not mean you know everything. We work together as a team. Female officers here have complained several times to the Professional Standards Division here but he is not showing remorse, neither [is he] willing to change from his unruly behavior,” Sgt. Nimley added.
She furthered that she was brutally assaulted on the premises of the police headquarters in the County, in the presence of other bystanders and passersby. Sgt. Nimely further explained that her inquiry was intended to be in the know of the charges against her landlord so as to inform his family about the situation, but her boss, Col. Cummeh took it personally and decided to show strength.
“He blasted at me and when I tried cooling him down, he got angry, and that’s how he started hitting me,” She said. A PSU officer was around and held him, but his force overpowered the officer. He reached to me with a punch and pushed me to the ground and started to beat me like his baby. He physically assaulted me and I sustained injuries to my nose and feeling severe pain at the back of my head.”
‘I want Justice’
Sgt. Nimely, who has been working in Maryland for more than five years, noted that her coming to Monrovia was supported by some friends who wanted to help her get justice.
According to her, the police should have not invited her to town since they already had in mind to end the case before opening it. The police action, she said, is frustrating and heartbreaking and a total disregard for women’s safety and protection.
“If I knew that this is how the case was going to be, they should have easily told me to stay in Maryland and after three months they were going to look into it. I am in school and just because of this incident, everything was suspended and now I don’t have money to pay my way. In fact, the second week in May, I am supposed to be writing my exams and I don’t have money and if I fail to attend or if I miss that test, I will have to repeat the courses for that semester as a senior student,” Sgt. Nimely added.
“Now, we are here for the investigation. Why they cannot conclude the process to know who is right or wrong? Besides that, I am even supposed to seek medication. My brother, right now I am not well in the body and need to do my X-ray to know my health status.”
Meanwhile, Sgt. Nimely has disclosed that since the day of the assault, she continues to feel severe body pain including nose and eye pains — “then they are telling that I should go treat myself, and then, any other expenses made I should bring all the receipts to them.”
“The first thing, you people do not even know how I got to Monrovia here and you are telling me to go back. We, as police officers, when we are dealing with a case, especially with civilians we take only 48 hours to investigate; what more about me? I have been abused by my boss, yet they expect me to wait for three months to get justice. For me, I want the law to take its course.
Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Liberia National Police, H. Moses Carter, has disclosed that the matter between Col. Cummeh and Sgt. Nimley is still being investigated thoroughly and findings will be released very soon.