‘Overwhelming Crowd Resulted to Police Killing Protester’

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Three of the four PSU officers charged over the shooting to death of a Kingsville protester, Abraham Tumay, being led to the Monrovia Central Prison.

-Police investigative report reveals

A police investigative report regarding the shooting to death of a protester, Abraham Tumay, by officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) on June 24, 2019 in the Kingsville Township #7, Montserrado County was on Monday, July 15 released to the Monrovia City Court, where the report blamed the police action on “overwhelming crowd.”

The document, identified as “police charge sheet,” was released after four PSU officers were charged following days of internal investigation. The four officers were subsequently forwarded to the City Court to face their crime of negligent homicide.

They are Morris M. Dahn, Emmanuel S. Melikamue, Thompson W. Pobleh, and Josephus Lewis, all officers of the PSU. They were charged following days of internal investigation. The four officers were subsequently forwarded to the court to face their crime of negligent homicide.

According to a legal expert, negligent homicide is a much lower intent crime, and is used as a charge when one person causes the death of another through criminal negligence.

“Even though it is the lowest category of homicide offenses, negligent homicide is still a serious offense. Punishment for negligent homicide ranges from 180 days up to two years in prison,” the legal expert informed the Daily Observer.

The shooting occurred when the locals staged a protest by setting roadblock on a major highway, during which police claimed that the residents were obstructing the free flow of human and vehicular traffic.

Their protest was triggered by the alleged delay in police investigation regarding the “mysterious disappearance and deaths of two children, Thomas Kollie, 10, and Elijah Porlume, 9, both of whom are residents of the Kingsville community. The two children reportedly went missing on May 30 and 31, respectively, but their bodies were discovered badly mutilated with body parts extracted.

The residents also claimed that the police were doing nothing substantial to bring the perpetrators to justice, although the officers admitted that four persons were arrested as “people of interest” but were later released.

The probe further revealed that “the riot police could not contain the situation as they were overwhelmed by the surging crowd, so in the process, the officers used the service arms and began shooting in the air using live bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd. In the stampede that followed two persons, Saah Saah and Dave Mombo were reportedly shot in the legs, and one in the head eventually resulting to the death of Abraham Tumay.”

Armed police on the scene in Kingsville Number 7 Community and fired several rounds of ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, who retaliated by throwing stones at the police. (Photo: Joaquin M. Sendolo)

At Monday’s hearing, the accused officers were remanded at the Monrovia Central Prison on grounds that they could not secure bonds, because the crime of which they were charged qualify an individual (accused) for bail.

The investigative report also defended the police officers’ action that due to the escalation of the rioters’ violence, the Careysburg Police, situated in the Kingsville Township, were unable to contain the situation, thereby causing Commander Philip O. Johnson to report the incident to his superiors through the appropriate chain of command. The document did not further explain the chain of command, but said that, in response to Commander Johnson’s call, the PSU officers took charge of the incident.

Besides, the document said that there was negotiation between the officers and some of the aggrieved residents, which, according to the report, failed find and remedy to the situation, which became volatile.

“The PSU officers attempted to remove the road blocks through riot control tactics, but the rioters started throwing stones and other harmful objects at the police. Therefore, they (police) began to use the service arms by shooting in the air with “live bullets” in an attempt to disperse the crowd, a situation that led to the death one person, and subsequently injuring some of the protesters,” the document said.

The document also claimed that before the incident, Walter B. Wary, a police commissioner, received call from two unknown callers informing him that there was a road block reportedly set up by some of the aggrieved residents.

It was officer Wary who later informed Marvin M. Sackor, Police Deputy Inspector General for Operations, who subsequently instructed Wary to move the PSU to the scene so as to remove the road block and create free passage for other road users.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It was unfortunate that Abraham Tumay died by the hands of police officers, for which I join other concerned Liberians in extending sympathies to the bereaved family. Unarguably, though, Inspector General Sudue of LNP and his staff should be commended for promptly investigating the shooting and charging four suspected officers. This unusual response has given me hope that change is coming!

    Given background of a wave of vigilance justice in the last year, which included the recent burning down of a police station, had this shooting occurred elsewhere, most likely, the case wouldn’t have gone to court. Even outnumbered police officers in a peaceful crowd control situation can get out of hands, let’s imagine then a group bent on causing public disorder.

    As rookie police officers, some of us were in such scary riotous confrontations. Therefore, regardless of abuse from inciters force-feeding an unwary public misinformation, we will continue to contribute our critical two-cents. The truth is that when regular incendiary language and terroristic threats by agent provocateurs, calling themselves “patriots”, make otherwise peaceful Liberians normalize mob violence, it’s cowardly to keep silent while instability at the horizon again.

    • There you go again Mr. Baghdad Moses, with this blaming the victims of police brutality and ineptitude. The Kingsville residents resorted to this tactics not in isolation of other similar deaths in Liberia in recent times that have gone uninvestigated, or for mere devilment as an antiestablishment resolve. Nooo, Mr. Baghdad Moses. Rather the citizens happen to be aware of those other unsolved murders and did not want the obvious ritualistic murder of those 2 kids to face similar fate. Perhaps if you could tell us the outcome or progress in the ‘investigations” surrounding the death of Innis from the CBL, or the young lady who was murdered in the yard of a certain Methodist prelate in Monrovia recently, then we may fathom your beratement of the people of Kingsville for not letting the rule of law take its course in the matter at hand. If you were a trained and unbiased law enforcer, perhaps you would know that “community policing,” having to do with building trust and cordiality with community dwellers is the trend now in most police departments around the world. When any police force does that in addition to other people-centered programs and law enforcement, the citizens are bound to be confident, hopeful and trusting of their police and not anxious, skeptical and distrustful. Hope, indeed, is an invigorating capital. Of course, having graduated from Israeli and Chinese police academies you wouldn’t know that. You are the type with the concaved mindset to always shoot first as rationale and justification for the police carrying a gun. The sworn oath to protect and defend citizens becomes “foreign ideology” with such provincialism. As is said of tyranny and dictatorship, “when people repudiate and constantly trounce democracy as a route to self-aggrandizement in any society, anarchism becomes the logical weapon as an alternative.” Any wonder then?

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