Relatives and friends of Papa Walker, 24, are asking how he hanged himself last Tuesday, while he was detained on a charge of ‘disorderly conduct’ at the New Kru Town Police Depot, near Monrovia.
An Investigation conducted by the Daily Observer revealed that Papa Walker allegedly assaulted his sister, whose identity could not be verified, following an altercation over child support fees with his eleven-month old son’s mother, who is also yet to be identified.
The deceased’s brother, Benjamin Walker, told the Daily Observer that Papa Walker and his girlfriend had a serious misunderstanding Monday night about financial assistance to take care of the child.
“The girl and my brother argued about the money and after much argument back and forth he agreed to find some money for her on Tuesday.
“That night my brother was so angry that my sister (not named), got on the girl’s side,” Benjamin Walker said.
He explained that Papa Walker, a motorbike rider, “jumped on our sister and I intervened to separate them.”
He said the unidentified sister returned on Tuesday morning to their Karpeh Street residence, along with an officer of the Liberia National Police, assigned at the New Kru Depot.
“My brother was asked to go to the police station and when he got there he was detained,” he said.
While efforts were being made to secure his release, we got the news in the afternoon that my brother had hanged himself in the cell.”
The news of the alleged suicide took the Borough of New Kru Town by storm and it drew hundreds of residents, mostly young people, to the police depot.
Meanwhile, the Liberia National Police withdrew officers assigned at the Depot and replaced them with a contingent of officers who took positions around the Police Depot, asking bystanders to leave.
The incident of suicide is not common in the Borough, according to residents who spoke to the Daily Observer.
“While we are confused as to how this boy could hang himself in a police cell, this sad story is a case involving a young father who found it difficult to provide financial support to his child,” an elder said.
Another resident, a mother of five, told the Daily Observer that “unlike before, motor bike riders are now restricted to communities and the young riders don’t earn much money and this has led to such a tragedy.”
Slum communities, like New Kru Town, West Point and Clara Town, (all in Monrovia) are filled with stories of young fathers who are unable to provide for their children due to lack of economic empowerment.
“This is one of the challenges facing the Liberian government,” said a former student of D. Twe Memorial High School, who did not want to identified.
Parents in New Kru Town are worried that what began with the need for financial support for a child sadly culminated in the death of a young man that his brother, Benjamin told the Daily Observer was a “hustler who was fighting hard to survive.”