‘Murdered’ Steve Paul’s brother says family became targets ever since they spoke out again’s police handling of the investigation
The brother of ‘murdered’ Steve Paul, Alphonso B. Csaliyah, who has been vigorously campaigning against the manner and form in which authorities at the Liberia National Police (LNP) was handling the case, has expressed fear over the lives of his family and himself.
Paul, 59, was allegedly beaten to death on November 8, 2018, by suspect Solomon Badio Giddings (currently at-large) at the deceased’s Camp Johnson Road office in Monrovia, an incident following which police charged Giddings with “negligent homicide” on grounds that Paul died as a result of “heart disease.”
Recently, Csaliyah has appeared on several radio talk shows, where he had openly challenged the police investigative report that charged Giddings with ‘negligent homicide’ instead of murder. At one of his appearances, Csaliyah described the police as “being compromised.”
Csaliyah also said that his ordeal started when the police appeared at a talk show where they accused him of spreading falsehood and rumors about the police investigative report of his brother’s death.
“Right now, the police view me as exacerbating a lot of trouble for them with my accusation against them,” Csaliyah said.
He claimed that since that time, he has been a target of “plain-clothed individuals.”
“Advocating for justice for my murdered brother, is it now a bad thing that I have been threatened by an unknown person?” he wondered.
Csaliyah sadly narrated that on the night of October 21, he rode on a tricycle from his house to the Fiamah market to purchase a scratch card and batteries for his radio, “but when I got out of the tricycle, a uniformed police officer approached me, and grabbed me by my shirt, but I fought my way out.”
“You fool, why are you spoiling the police’s name?” Csaliyah said, quoting the unknown person. Csaliyah said that he did not answer the person; rather, he chose to continue with his journey.
Immediately, Csaliyah claimed that while he was walking away, “the man in uniform came from behind me and hit me from the back.”
“While trying to face the man, he struck me again, leaving several bruises on my body. I managed to escape after a crowd rushed to the scene,” Csaliyah said.
“I will not rest until Steve, whose remains have been lying at the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Services, can get justice,” Csaliyah vowed.
He added, “No amount of threat will stop me from seeking justice for the family and late Paul.”
Csaliyah said the situation is frightening and is a fearful moment for him and the family. “I’m scared for my children, scared for wife, and scared for myself, but I have to do this in the name of justice.”
He continued, “I am so disappointed about the police’s attitude, but that has to be exposed.”
But he has concluded that “even this would not stop me from pursuing justice for my brother.”
“Even if I will die, let me die for justice,” he said.
The late Steve Paul, according to police’s investigation, died at the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Cooper Hospital following a fist-fight with suspect Giddings in the aftermath of an argument that ensued between the two over a laptop keyboard.
On the contrary, Police spokesman, H. Moses Carter, told a radio phone-in program on Thursday, October 24, that the Late Paul died at SOS Clinic in Congo Town.
In the melee that ensued as a result of the argument, police said Giddings struck Mr. Paul with a blow to the chest, causing the victim to go unconscious. Mr. Paul did not regain consciousness until he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
It can be recalled that on Thursday, October 17, 2019, Mr. Csaliyah informed the Daily Observer about the family’s plan to write President George Weah, to complain about the alleged unprofessional investigation which authorities of the LNP conducted in order to establish the cause of Mr. Paul’s death.
A letter from LNP, under the signature of Police Inspector Abu B. Daramy, dated September 19, 2019, entitled, “Authorization for Release of Body” and addressed to the Administration of the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Services, said the body had been held there, pending post mortem examination, but did not say when said examination would be conducted.
“The body of the late Steve Paul was deposited at your funeral home by his family members for preservation after he was pronounced dead at the SD Cooper Medical Hospital, subsequent to a fight that ensued at Camp Johnson Road on November 8, 2019, pending the conduct of a post-mortem examination by Montserrado County Coroner,” the letter reads.
It adds: “The bereaved family has, however, expressed their desire in undertaking funeral arrangements for their deceased relative, which was granted by the police authority. In view thereof, we do hereby request that you kindly release his mortal remains to Alphonso B. Csaliyah, brother of the deceased on behalf of the family.”
“This document shall constitute your legal and sufficient authority,” the letter concludes.
Also, a medical report from the SD Cooper Hospital and which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, signed by Dr. Whyllah B. Blojay (MD), attributed the cause of Paul’s death to “Cardio-Pulmonary Arrest (background of domestic violence),” indicating that Paul died on account of Giddings’ attack.
To corroborate the medical report, Cllr. Tiawan S. Gongloe, a lead lawyer for the family, expressed the belief that Paul died as a result of Giddings’ punches to his chest, adding: “This case is not negligent homicide, because Paul’s death was not accidental.”
Details of the report say that Paul was rushed to the hospital emergency unit at the hour of 11:22 a.m., on account of a “sudden collapse as the result of a fight between Steve Paul and an unnamed individual, who hit Paul several times in his chest in his office,” Csaliyah said, challenging the police version of the incident.
“However, Paul was brought in gasping for air; difficulty breathing with unreadable vital signs from both digital and manual vital sign devices,” the medical report said.
During a physical examination, Doctor Blojay said the patient was “unconscious, dyspeptic, with his hand held tightly to his chest and lying on his right lateral chest wall. Patient was immediately transferred to the ward for oxygen therapy and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation for which, despite all efforts, he died at 11:30 a.m.”
However, Dr. Blojay said that Paul was never treated at this “facility for any form of preexisting condition/ailment, and so there was no history of any pre-existing condition.”