Ever since the deadly clash, on Thursday, April 16, 2015, between the Liberian National Police (LNP) and the motorcyclists in Paynesville the public has been eagerly awaiting the LNP report, which they said had been completed. Until now that report is yet to be released to the public.
Police Commissioner Chris Massaquoi has to realize that the public has a right to know what happened, exactly how the motorcyclist was killed, who actually did the deed, where the perpetrator is and what action is contemplated against him.
The family of the victim has vowed not to bury their deceased relative until the report is out and they know exactly how he was killed, by whom and for what reason. The LNP owes it to the family, the deceased young man and the Liberian public to help bring closure to this most unfortunate incident, in which not only a motorcyclist lost is life, but a police depot was burnt down and policewomen assaulted by angry cyclists. This naked aggression against the police must most certainly be exposed in all its detail, as must the brutal act perpetrated against the cyclist leading to his instant death.
Commissioner Massaquoi must be commended for ordering the report in the first place. Now that it has, by his own admission, been completed, we urge him to release the report to the President and the Justice Minister who are the LNP's bosses, and to the public. The President and Minister surely should be made aware of what took place, for they are ultimately responsible for the security of the state. But so must the public, from whom the slain motorcyclist and all other cyclists hail. The public is anxious to know what really happened, so that Liberians may lend their thinking to the avoidance of future clashes. Beyond that, the report will help the police and the motorcyclists understand where they each went wrong, and hopefully avoid such violent clashes in the future.
There have been many public reactions to the dismissal of Deputy Police Director Abraham Kromah. Many welcomed it as the President's determination to encourage the LNP to behave even-handedly and more humanely with the public; while many credit Mr. Kromah for dealing firmly with those who would openly violate the law and expect to do so with impunity. Director Kromah's firmness and forthrightness in dealing with those who would opt for anarchy and violence instead of being law-abiding at all times, won him praise from many in the public who saw him as one who contributed to law, order and peace.
Many also admire Mr. Kromah's unequivocal acceptance of President Sirleaf's action in relieving him of his position as Deputy Police Commissioner, and they saw this as a potential opportunity for his recall somewhere in law enforcement, having learnt from whatever mistakes he may have committed.
It is hoped that the LNP report on the Paynesville clashes between the Police and the motorcyclists will somehow include the role of the police top brass, including Mr. Kromah and other senior officers that may have in one way or the other played a role in the melee.
One of the most expected parts of the report will be what to do about motorcyclists in greater Monrovia. This is not the first time that they have been known to be the cause of major public disturbances, not only in Monrovia but in other parts of the country. Nearly two years ago similar disturbances led the police and other Justice officials to ban motorcyclists from plying the streets of central Monrovia, restricting them to specific communities on the outskirts of the capital. The April 16 incident led immediately to further restrictions on the movements of motorcycle.
While we urge the LNP to exercise utmost restraint in its dealings with all motorists, and the public in general, we also caution motorists and the public to respect the law and the authority of law enforcement officers.
One last point we are compelled to make is one that stimulates all respect: every one of us should realize that respect travels a two-way street–respect yourself and others will respect you.