My Unlawful Detention at Salem Police Depot

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Dear Mr. Editor:

On April 10, at about 12:30am, I was on my way home on the Airfield, just three blocks away from the Police Depot  and came in contact with two vehicles parked on the road with no place for commuters to pass. I waited for two minutes for one of the vehicles to move so I could go home, but to no avail.

I finally touched the cars so that the occupants could be aware that they had blocked the road.

No one acknowledged that I was there so the second time I touched the car, a white fellow came out and said, “Look, do you know who’s in the car?” And as soon as he said that, he pulled me by my shirt and I told him, “I don’t want to know you but I just want you to leave the road so I can go home.”

After a while, like two minutes later, a gentleman came from the front seat, someone that I recognized as the police commander for that depot (Salem) on the Airfield.

I was escorted to the police station on the Airfield and it was there that police officers asked me to sit down and began to ask for my name.

Later, another officer told me to go and sit on the prisoners’ bench and asked me to take off my slippers and belt, and I did. He said, “You have the opportunity to make only one phone call.” Already I had given my belongings to a friend of mine who was walking with me when the incident occurred.

Later another officer said, “Look, go in that room and sit there. I cannot put you in jail because I know you and you live around here (Airfield) and in fact you can’t put someone in jail because they knocked on your car and asked you to move from the road.”

Actually, this officer did what he told me on his own. After eight to ten minutes, I heard someone ordering, “Release that man,” and an officer ordered me to go.

Mr. Editor, my complaint has to do with (my) unlawful detention by the police commander.

Also, the manner in which he took the law into his own hands was a complete violation of my rights.

As a citizen I’m troubled by the incident I have explained, as UNMIL is drawing down to depart Liberia in 2016. Though this is an isolated incident, there are chances that many Liberians may have encountered police brutality, perpetrated by Liberians against Liberians. What happens if UNMIL finally leaves Liberia?

Authors

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