Unarmed Motorcyclist Shot to Death by Police Commander

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LNP commander Roosevelt Dehmie, who is reported to have deliberately shot his hand, was treated at a local clinic

By Alvin Worzi and William Q. Harmon

Residents in the bustling commercial district of Red-Light, in Paynesville, were shocked when the commander of a nearby depot of the Liberia National Police (LNP) fatally shot a commercial motorcyclist after the victim had allegedly resisted arrest. The environment became tense when the news broke that the gun-wielding police commander, Roosevelt Dehmie, had shot and killed 32-year-old Beyan Lamin, a very popular motorcyclist in his community.

Lamin met his untimely death at his doorstep, following a row with the law enforcement officer. Reports indicate that the victim catered to residents of Pipeline Community, in Paynesville.

Eye-witnesses said Lamin was earlier arrested by Dehmie, who demanded that Lamin follow him to his depot, though the commander did not explain why he was taking him to the police annex.

“We appealed to him [the Commander] to seize the bike and release Lamin but he refused and started manhandling Lamin,” an eye-witness said.

“During that time, Lamin asked his sister to take a picture of the scuffle with the commander to serve as evidence. It was at this point that Lamin attempted to run away from him and the commander reacted by shooting him,” the witness said.

The victim was a former student of the University of Liberia, his father David Lamin told the Daily Observer.

Another version of the story reported that officer Dehmie had pulled the victim over for what he called traffic violation, claiming that the victim was plying the streets beyond the government’s regulated time of 10pm for commercial motorcyclists. The victim then argued that said regulation was not in effect any longer, as per the recent announcement by the LNP in which a ban on commercial motorcyclists was relaxed. The victim requested the officer to release him on grounds that the officer had no reason to pull him over.

Minutes later, eyewitnesses say, the argument became intense between the two men and later the victim began to flee from the scene on his bike. At this stage, officer Dehmie immediately pursued the victim on foot. The victim reached his residence and disembarked from his motorcycle when officer Dehmie, who had drawn his weapon, pointed it at the back of the unarmed motorcyclist.

Family sources said the victim attempted to enter his room when officer Dehmie pulled the trigger, shooting him in the back as family members took to their heels in fear.

Beyan Lamin was one of seven children, according to his father,  who rode the motorbike to pay his school fees. The victim’s residence was a scene of anguish and wailing yesterday as his death news went through the community and residents came in their numbers to console his parents.

It was surprising that motorcyclists, who over the years had been uncompromising during such incidents, withheld their anger and did not engage in violence.

According to the victim’s father David Lamin, the Inspector General of Police Patrick Sudue has promised to ensure justice in his son’s death.

Mr. Lamin, who works for the Liberia Agriculture Company in Compound-3, Grand Bassa County, said they will work along with the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Motorcyclists Union to ensure that the process is not delayed.

“While I was in Grand Bassa Compound-3 this morning, I received a phone call from my daughter, demanding my presence in Monrovia, because the situation was very serious. I was shocked when I reached Monrovia and heard that my son was shot by a police officer,” Mr. Lamin, 56, said in tears.

Kebbeh Lamin, sister of Beyan, told the Daily Observer that prior to officer Roosevelt killing her brother, she and other community dwellers begged the officer to have mercy on her brother.

“I was called [outside] by his baby-mother and I immediately ran there and began to beg the officer to let him go but he refused to even talk with us. After my brother gave me his phone to take his picture, another officer told Roosevelt not to allow me to take the picture and it was the time my brother decided to escape but got shot,” Madam Lamin explained in tears.

She said officer Roosevelt was first alone but later he called for additional officers who came on a bike. She said other neighbors were also present during the incident and begged the officer to leave her brother alone, but he would not.

Meanwhile Commander Dehmie also sustained a bullet wound but, according to Kebbeh and other eyewitnesses, the officer deliberately shot himself after he shot Lamin.

“I was shocked today to hear that the officer shot himself to claim that he and my brother were fighting over the gun when he got shot,” Kebbeh said.

According to residents, motorcyclists on Monday morning gathered at the Turtle-Base Police Depot, in what appeared to be an attempt to retaliate for their colleague’s death. But they were calmed down by their leaders and an intervention of LNP Emergency Response Unit (ERU) officers.

Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue told a press conference that the LNP is aware of the incident and that the issue of the firearm will be dealt with.

Pressure Group Condemns Police Action

A political pressure group, the Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia (EFFL), has condemned the action of Commander Dehmie, saying that Liberia is not a military state where security officers use firearms at will.

“Why should you kill a struggling motorcyclist who is trying to earn a living for his family? This is very inhumane and wicked,” the EFFL said in a statement on Monday.

The group said an investigation conducted by its intelligence arm uncovered that the victim refused to bribe the officer, which led to the row that eventually ended his life.

“We are calling on the hierarchy of the LNP to immediately investigate the matter and bring the perpetrator to justice,” the statement said. The EFFL also extended its deepest condolences to the bereaved family, while at the same time the group sent out a caveat to the government that the brutal death of peaceful citizens is not in the interest of the country.

“We will not allow our countrymen to be intimidated by henchmen of this regime. Moving forward, the EFFL has commissioned her District Commander and its members in the Soul Clinic Community to work alongside the Motorcyclists Union in making sure that Commander Dehmie is brought to justice,” they said in a statement.

The remains of the late Lamin were deposited at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center morgue in Sinkor, while Commander Dehmie, who is reported to have deliberately shot his hand, was treated at a local clinic. 

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

18 COMMENTS

  1. that idiot deserve a death, he don’t deserve a justice he has no reason of killing an innocent boy who is the birdwiner of his siblings in the name of violation, is not his first time nor his second time he has been killing innocent people, so, if the government don’t take action against this, we the youth will step into..

  2. Too many killing in recent time, this is very bad IGP. This is the reason we are afraid for the Police to carry arm. The perpetrator need to be disrobe immediately and forward to court for persecution.

  3. If Liberia is to remain peaceful then let us evaluate well and set a high benchmark on who take arm and who should not among police officers. Some of these officers are dangerous and should not be allow to carry arm despite their position.

    I hope this officer is dismissed from the police and be made to go through the legal process and if guilt jail for life.

  4. The police shouldn’t have opted to using firearm. Too many killing, let the rule of law prevail. Justice must be served!

  5. Yeah, the recent killing of an unarmed person amounts to Police Brutality. Police Brutality should not be allowed to fester in Liberia. If the preliminary information we’ve got is correct, the lawmakers must step in immediately.

  6. stop the killing why are they still killing one another when is it going to stop that the thing all this is ask but no answer will they answer me? only jesus christ know so we must turn to him for answer

  7. Comment: Recently A Fire Arm Taken From A Police Office By Criminals Led To Someone Dying On Clay Street, Now A Police Killing Citizen.Liberia Be Careful!!!

  8. My sincere sympathy and condolences go the victim and his family. It never should had ended to way this way. This should serve as a lesson for both law enforcement officers and the public they are serving.
    While I am in sympathy with the victim and his family, I also want to say that people should not be resisting arrests. This may sound insensitive but we should never be resisting arrest.

    First, the police is operating in a force where they have no access to cruisers to transport people who have committed crime. The officer arrested Lamin; how were they going to get to the Police Depot when he the officer commanded Lamin to follow him to the Depot? Did the Officer cuffed Lamin or yet did he call for back up when Lamin tend to resist arrest? Police using handcuffs for people who have committed crime serve as protection for both arrested person and the officer.

    Second,the police used poor judgement to shoot a man on his back because police are only allowed to use deadly force when their lives are in danger. In this case according to both scenarios of the stories, the police didn’t have to shoot. On the other hand, Lamin was resisting arrest and in fact, his sister even admitted that he (Lamim) ran or was running away from the police. Two wrongs cannot make right. If the police was being violent while arresting Lamin, it was the right thing he did by asking his sister to video tape the arrest so it could be used as evidence against the police.
    Police here in the US shoot people everyday for simple things. What more about resisting arrest or running away from the police. They may use more than one bullet.

  9. We are getting afraid now in Liberia, please Mr President train those guys, they are not well trained, u are to protect life n u taking away life. Justice should prevail.

  10. That commander is paranoid, I’ve come in contact with him before. I know him from redlight, he’s a freak.

  11. I am wondering whether we will really get JUSTICE for such terrible crime? What kind of secret society this undisciplined guy formed part of that he was offered this position?
    We need the government to filter all of our security forces appropriate disciplinary conduct.

  12. Siasia,
    You are right. The cops do not have vans to transport petty or hardcore criminals to the police sub-stations around the city. That’s how far I can agree with you. Are you suggesting that because the cops do not have vans or cruisers, it’s okay to shoot to death an arrestee? Do you think that the cop in this particular incident had a right to shoot someone to death? If the cops have to “shoot to kill or just shoot an arrestee because there aren’t vans or cruisers, then for sure all Liberians are in a hell hole and also all cops in Liberia are warped.
    Mr. Siasia, I disagree with your logic as it is stated in the 3rd paragraph. First and foremost, Lamin was not known as a violent criminal, neither did he pose a serious threat. Okay let me ask this question:
    By shooting Lamin to death, did the cop solve the problem for which the victim was arrested? You seem to imply that the cop was justified in shooting Lamin to death for various reasons. No, the cop should be brought to trial. It is naively preposterous to shoot any arrested person!!!!
    Cops in the US are incomparable to their Liberian counterparts. As you know mighty well, cops, especially white cops shoot black people for any reason they can formulate. Our country is homogenous and the US isn’t. So in

  13. So in the US, the cops have a different caseload. There is no reasonable comparison that can be made.

    Attention…………
    I depressed post comment by mistake!
    EXCUSE ALL MISTAKES.

  14. This is a case of gross misconduct of the LNP highlighting the severity of the incompetence of the leadership structure. A police commander, a presumed road model, who is to lead by example has decided to resolve a minor infraction with a violation of a man’s right to life when it could have ended with warning and laughter. A small step that would have gone a long way to showcase good community relationship with the police, compromised! What now?

  15. Liberian police with guns? Well, expect more arm robbery in every Conner of monrovia. These guys were rebels in the past and now they are all carrying weapons. You will see lot of killings and lot of arm robbery.

  16. That’s one of the multiple negative result of packing former rebels/killers into our already-broken security sector instead of recruit morally clean and intelligent people.

    When will former Liberian killers change from their killing desires. Is this killer suggesting that UNMIL should come back ?

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