Kebbah Community alleged gunshot victim Helena Nimely is crying for further treatment, accusing the Liberia National Police (LNP) of abandoning her and denying responsibility for the wound she sustained in her neck during a bloody riot in Barnersville last month.
“At first the doctor said that it was bullet wound, but everything turned around when 102 [Deputy Police Inspector General for Operations] went in the doctor’s office,” victim Helena told reporters in Monrovia Monday, 9 July.
During a riot between police officers and residents following the killing of a motorcycle operator and a passenger at Kebbah by a truck driver on Wednesday, 27 June, victim Helena says she sustained a gunshot wound and was being treated at the Trinity Healing Temple (THT) Hospital.
According to her, when the incident took place, police went to the hospital that was treating her and allegedly assured the hospital that they were shouldering responsibility for the hospital bill.
But she laments that since police visited the hospital the third day, they have not gone there again, thus prompting the nurse there to stop treating her wound.
“Now I am still in pain, this is not an ordinary wound, it is a bullet wound. I have come to tell the international community that I need treatment. I am still sick and in serious pain in my neck and chest,” victim Helena explains.
Victim Helena says the doctor told her to leave because nobody was paying for her medication. “So I left because I was not attended to and also never had water to even take bath,” Helena laments further.
On the day of the incident, Deputy Police Inspector General for Administration Col. Sadatu Reeves told our reporters on the scene that two police officers were due to be investigated for the shooting, but she declined to disclose the names of those two officers.
“It is my hope that the victim gets well. We are sure who fired and where the bullet came from but we are going to investigate and justice will take its course,” Col. Reeves said.
But she was immediately contradicted by Police Spokesman Moses Carter in a press release that “no round was fired as was reported on social media.” Mr. Carter instead accused protesters of using petrol bombs, glass bottles, and stones to attack police officers, saying six persons were arrested in connection with the violent protest and were undergoing investigation, while the truck driver Abou Sheriff was in police custody undergoing investigation.
But Madam Florence T. Nagbe of the THT Health Center told reporters on the day of the incident that the wound was a bullet wound. She said the bullet came from the back and penetrated through the victim’s neck.
However, victim Helena also speaks of Col. Reeves paying visit to her (Helena) at the hospital on the same day of the incident. But she says out of sudden, Deputy Police Inspector General for Operations Col. Robert Budy entered the doctor’s office on the third day “and from that time the police never visited the hospital.”
“I believe there was a foul play that went on there,” victim Helena continues, saying at first the doctor said that it was bullet wound but everything turned around when 102 (Col. Budy) went in the doctor’s office.
Helena says before they left the hospital, they made a call to Col. Budy, but he allegedly responded that the police had no dealing with the case because it was not bullet wound.
She says Col. Budy said police were taking care of the bill for the three days she was at the hospital, but her family should go ahead with the treatment on their own.
She says col. Budy was clear that the first payment was based on humanitarian ground because it is not the police’s responsibility to treat anyone who gets hurt in a riot and nobody knows who caused the wound.
The husband of the victim identified as Levi Johnson says when they requested for the medical report, the doctor gave the report to the police before giving the family a copy. Mr. Johnson notes that the medical report says his wife suffered laceration instead of a gunshot.
According to Mr. Johnson, a nurse gave them LD$3,000, saying it was from Col. Budy as a kind gesture from he and his family.He says he called Col. Reeves and asked why they couldn’t see the police at the hospital again, and she allegedly responded that she was removed from the case and Col. Budy had taken charge of the case.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley