The family of deceased little Francis Mensah has called on the Liberia National Police (LNP) to turn over their son’s case to independent investigators because it lost confidence in the police’s “misleading” final report and findings.
Speaking with reporters outside the police headquarters, the late Mensah’s uncle and spokesperson for a group of protesters that stormed the police headquarters Tuesday, 9 June, Mr. George C. Davis says the police’s report accused him of being the cause of his nephew’s death.
The three – year – old kid died days after hot water burnt him on 20 April when his grandparents were fleeing from police’s verbal command, ordering residents in Monrovia’s slum community West Point to leave the streets under coronavirus lockdown measure.
Tuesday’s protest followed an administrative investigation conducted by the police which exonerated their female officer Patrolwoman Sonnie Jallah who had been accused of kicking a coal pot with hot water which burnt little Mensah on 20 April, leading to his death.
The police administrative report recommended a further criminal investigation, adding that Mr. George C. Davis, a resident of West Point who wrote the police to complain about the incident as well as Mensah’s Grandmother Satta McGill and Richard G. Singbeh be subjects to the investigation. But protesters angered by the kid’s death have rejected the report as misleading, demanding an independent probe into the matter.
“To date, the family has not received any formal communication on the outcome of the LNP’s (Liberia National Police’s) investigation and therefore find most disturbing that the LNP would be so insensitive to the loss of a little baby and ignoring the mourning of the family, thereby treating the death as irrelevant and insignificant,” Mr. Davis laments.
According to him, the late Francis’ family is prepared to challenge the police’s findings because pieces of evidence and witness’ testimonies are sufficient to attribute wrongdoing to the LNP in general. “The premature release of findings and the attitude of the police reinforces the family’s suspicion of an attempt to cover up an act of the police brutality and assault on an innocent child,” he alleges.
According to Mr. Davis, the family has learned that the LNP, as part of an alleged devilish plan is seeking to charge the family with murder in an attempt to scare the kid’s family.
But he warns that this will not scare them, but will rather continue to advocate for the rights of Francis until justice is done.
Since the incident that led to the death of their son, Mr. Davis complains that the Spokesman of Police Moses Carter has made two different statements on the matter, saying one of the statements accuses him (Davis) of being behind the kid’s death.
For her part, Francis’ grandaunt Ms. Soma McGill tells reporters that after the complaint was file with the police, the LNP did not interview any of the family members or community dwellers that watched the alleged police brutality, claiming that police only spoke with a lady that went to West Point to sell.
“We have been peaceful with the police after we filed our complaint. They took almost two weeks, every time we come to the police headquarters they will tell us they [are] still taking statements from the police that were [involved]. But for the police to come up with this report, it’s saddening,” Ms. Soma McGill says.
Receiving the petition from the group, the Police Inspector General Col. Patrick T. Sudue extends the police’s condolences to the family and the protesters, saying the Liberia National Police is not in favor of seeing Liberian citizens being killed.
Col. Sudue continues that the investigation that was conducted was carried out by the police’s Professional Standard Division, saying if any police officer had been found guilty, that officer would have been turned over to the Crimes Services Division.
“But the report from the Professional Standard didn’t hold the officer, but that investigation did not end, the case [is] there. So the recommendation was the case be turned over to the CSD to look into the criminal aspect of the case to see as to what is the cause of this little child being burned that led to his death,” Inspector General Sudue says.
He further narrates that it is the family’s right to call for an independent investigation, noting that if the family and the legal team agree, the CSD can turn the case over to the Civilian Complaint Board which is headed by Cllr. Tiawon Gongoe, the president of the Liberia National Bar Association.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley