Montserrado County District #11 Representatives, J. Gabriel Nyankan has recounted a hostile experience with police at Klay Junction, Bomi County, which resulted to having him held for nearly six hours by the police.
Addressing a press conference Tuesday, March 10 at the Capitol Building, Representative Nyankan said some members of the Liberian National Police or LNP assigned at the Clay Checkpoint held him and his office staff for reasons best known to the police.
According the Montserrado County Lawmaker, while returning from Grand Cape Mount County where he had gone to perform his oversight duty, a junior police officer at the checkpoint banged on his vehicle, ordering him and staff to disembark the car.
“I asked the junior officer why he banged on my official vehicle. He told me to back off so I can wash my hands, but I noticed that all of the officers at the checkpoint were drunk, so I asked the junior office, is that the only way to ask me to wash my hands? Then I told them I had my hand sanitizer with water that I have been using but one of the officers wearing mufti (color clothe) who identified himself as the Commander, started to defend the junior officer’s action, and at that time, all my friends (Lawmakers) had passed,” Representative Nyankan further narrated during the press conference.
According to him, immediately he took his phone and called the Director of Police, Col. Clarence Massaquoi, who he said, promised to send officers from Monrovia on the scene within an hour to intervene, but the men never came.
Representative Nyankan continued that subsequently he called Speaker Tyler, who also promised to send people to pick him up as the police allegedly impounded his car at the checkpoint.
“Before I came to myself, the guy, who said he was the commander, told the other officers to seal up the checkpoint based on order received from his boss, Deputy Police Director for Operations, Abraham Kromah, who also asked them to flatten my tiers; so I kept calm in my car, while they went ahead and took the air from my four tiers. They even handcuffed my Special Assistant and placed him behind bar for hours,” he explained.
According to the Lawmaker, after spending six hours at the checkpoint, Representative Edwin Snow then intervened and the police finally released him and his staff, while some of the officers at the checkpoint publicly bragged that they have done similar act against other lawmakers and nothing came from it.
Representative Gabriel Nyankan noted that continuous harassment by police officers against elected officials is worrisome for a democracy like Liberia and also cautioned his fellow lawmakers to act now or they risk being the next victim tomorrow.
Nyankan has meanwhile filed a former complaint to plenary on the matter. The Liberia National Police has not commented on the claim.
By Ben P. Wesee