Community leaders at the Rehab Community in Paynesville have told police authorities that 10 pellets (bullets) were extracted from 17 year – old victim Emmanuel Kiah who was shot with a single barrel gun by former assistant police director for intelligence defendant, Samuel “PI” Nimely on Thursday, 11 August.
In his opening statement, Police Zone Eight Commander McClain Tarpeh apologized to family and community members on Saturday, 20 August over the incident at the forum held by the Liberia National Police’s Community Service Section or CSS which is responsible for community policing programs.
Rehab Community Zonal Chairman Mr. Derick D. Dunbar told police and UN security partners at the community forum that victim Kiah was transferred to Nimba hospital where the bullets were extracted from his body because the government referral hospital John F. Kennedy Medical Center or JFKMC in Monrovia said it could not remove the pellets.
Kiah told an interview with journalists that he had no prior engagement with Mr. Nimely prior to being shot and further denied claims that he was shot for allegedly stealing the defendant’s dog.
Kiah said he did not know why he got shot by the defendant, claiming that the incident happened while he and his friends were fishing at a pond in the community.
But Mr. Dunbar said the former police officer had apologized for his actions and pleaded for mercy; though he said “we” realize this is the fourth time that the former police chief has harmed somebody in like manner.
While applauding the community people for their cooperation in handling the situation, Mr. Dunbar also thanked Police Commander Mr. Tarpeh for the manner in which he handled the situation in a way that it did not further escalate into violence.
He said further X-ray was still required for the victim and that the UN partners have assured they would also assist the community. Speaking earlier, Mr. Tarpeh apologized to residents in the community and the victim’s family, saying “never mind and it will never happen again, we are here to assure you it will never happen again.”
The head of LNP’s Community Service Section, Mr. Samuel McCarthy reassured residents in the area that the police are not law and gospel unto themselves. He informed them that there are checkmates and punitive measures in place against police misconduct.
Though the authorities said shooter PI Nimely was dismissed from the police force since two years ago, they however, took up the time to speak with the locals because the police cannot work in isolation given the roles of the police and the community people.
Mr. McCarthy admitted that there must be change in the attitude of some police officers, noting that there some good ones though. He expressed worry that the LNP will not get the support of the community people if people do not change their attitude.
A member of the LNP’s Community Service Section who played the role of MC at the forum, Ms. Esther Dadzie observed that the community people also contribute to crimes by shielding people with bad characters.
She said this is particularly so when it comes to interviewing community members during the vetting of police and other national security recruits. She advised community people against making false recommendations in favor of people with bad characters to join the security sector on grounds that upon being admitted into whatever force, the criminals will come back into the same community to embarrass the people.
She said it is common to see people with bad conduct wearing Police uniforms, going in the ghettos and partaking in bad social habits. Acting Police Spokesman Mr. Lewis Norman expressed his bosses’ concern over the situation, and clarified to community members that the crime committed by Mr. Nimely was billable and as such, they should not be surprised should they see him at any time on the street.
According to him, Mr. Nimely was investigated, properly charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault and sent to court where he could be bailed by his lawyer. He said Mr. Nimely was dismissed from the police two years ago and document submitted to the police authorities showed that the defendant was bearing a registered arm.
Mr. Norman said Nimely’s arm was seized by authorities, and they are studying whether or not he could still bear arm after the court process. He, however, added that if there is need, the defendant home could be searched to establish whether he still has arms in keeping.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah