By S. Micah Yeahwon, Gbarma, Gbarpolu County
A former private security officer who attempted to take pictures when several members of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) allegedly tried to extort money from a driver whose commercial vehicle had burnt down in Kortima, Gbarma District was reportedly assaulted by the officers.
The incident occurred at about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6.
The victim, Maxwell Poole, who once worked for Wright Security, told the Daily Observer that the seven officers “held me by my trousers, dragged me on the ground as I cried for help. They began to kick me, and beat me with a stick, injuring me on my back. Presently my neck is hurting me.”
He explained that after the Tuesday incident, the officers returned to look for him the following day demanding to know if he had taken any pictures of them.
“I told them that I did not take any photographs because my phone’s battery was dead at the time they were dealing with the driver,” he said, “but they did not believe me.”
Poole said he works alongside officers from the Gbarma police detail because of his background as a security officer, assisting them where necessary.
He said the PSU officers came from Bomi County and are not aware of his support to the Gbarma police detail.
Meanwhile, upon hearing about the incident, citizens of the district expressed disgust and condemned the officers’ action “against one of their own.”
Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Flomo Naatehn Sr., upon hearing about Poole’s assault, also condemned the act in a report on PUMA FM in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, and said brutality against innocent citizens by state security officers should be discouraged so that Liberians can live at peace with each other.
Mr. Poole reported the incident to central police headquarters in Monrovia on Thursday, June 8, and was assured that the case would be investigated.