On 2nd Thoughts: When law enforcers become the abusers
-The case of LNP ARU, 121 Christopher Roberts and New Dawn Publishers
A “Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” Psalm 49:20 King James Version (KJV).
This is the case of the Liberian National Police PSU Commander Christopher Roberts (not Peters) who goes by code 121. Christophers Roberts refused to acknowledge his position at the LNP and the honor that that title carried when he resorted to hurling abusive language at his victims. His victims were subject to psychological pain and trauma.
It was on the sunny afternoon of Saturday, December 17, 2022, when a vehicle belonging to the Anti-Robbery Unit (ARU) of the Liberian National Police ran into the vehicle of New Dawn Publisher Othello B. Garblah and his wife on the Old Road short cut just after one bend in from the Nigerian House.
The road was very crowded on that day. There was an ongoing graduation ceremony at Rev. Gardea Johnson’s Church causing huge traffic. It was on this road that the unregistered vehicle which was later identified as belonging to the LNP’s Anti-Robbery Unit decided to force its way through when it crashed into the vehicle belonging to the Publisher of New Dawn and his wife.
With the impact of the crash requiring a professional to restore the vehicle as it were, the owners demanded that it be taken to Dolphin Garage on 15 Street, where they usually repair their vehicle.
In the process, Mr. Garblah who was driving at the time asked one of his staff to ride with the driver and occupant of the ARU vehicle to prevent an escape.
When all parties arrived at the Dolphin Garage, an assessment was made putting the cost of repairs at USD500.00.
The driver of the ARU vehicle who appears drunk, resorted to begging for mercy saying he could not afford the cost. Told that the police should have insurance as a government entity to bear the cost, he decided to telephone his bosses, later to find out that the vehicle was not insured, yet the police stop drivers on regular basis asking for their vehicle registration and insurance papers.
However, within minutes three extra senior officers from the ARU arrived on the scene at the garage including ARU Commander V. Moore.
Moore and his colleagues insisted they could not afford the repair cost and began to appeal. The Garblahs insisted they were not backing down on their repair demand and also requested that the police provided them with a vehicle for the four days their car will stay in the garage.
As both parties went back and forth, the Garblahs told the police to appeal to the owner of the Garage to enable them to get some discount since they were police officers.
Commander Moore and his colleagues obliged and followed up with the appeal which was granted. They then decided to rally among themselves to raise the initial payment. While they were doing that, they also decided to appeal to the Garblahs for some consideration on the provision of a temporary vehicle.
Meanwhile, unknown to them, the Garbahs had already taken that into consideration and were awaiting the initial payment for both parties to leave the garage before Mr. 121 Christopher Roberts showed up.
Whatever discussion he had with his officers was unknown to the Garblahs. But following his discussion, he came walking towards the Garblahs. His first statement to the Garblahs as he approached the couple was: “where is the New Dawn man who says he is going to write about this accident in his paper?”
“You cannot have your car repaired here; this is where I repair my car and it is very expensive. It cost me about 1200…to service my car here. We are going to take your car to the Police Headquarters at our motor pool for the guys to do the repair.” Mr. officer 121 went on bragging.
This prompted a response from Mrs. Garblah who queried: “How dare you insult us like that?”
As if Mr. 121-Christopher Roberts was looking for means to unleash his invectives went on as if he came prepared for the Garblahs.
It took the intervention of women who were seated opposite the garage to calm the couple telling them not to follow in the footstep of a man who was by now bringing his office into disrepute by unleashing insults at people he should be protecting.
Meanwhile, while Mr. 121 Christopher Roberts was on his bravado, he instructed his Anti Robbery team to go back to the Police Headquarters and allow the Traffic Police to investigate the case.
So, upon the women intervention the Garblahs follow at the LNP Central office for the investigation.
At the Traffic Police office, Mr. Garblah and the ARU driver were asked to present their respective documents and driver’s licenses.
During the investigation, it was discovered that not only did the driver of the ARU Ford Pickup not have a driver’s license but had no police batch. He presented a citizen ID Card as the only identifier during the investigation.
So, here is the thing, the ARU driver appears drunk, driving an unregistered vehicle, and had no driver’s license or police batch. Imagine for a second that this was the other way around. Mr. Garblah would have been put in a detention cell before the case investigation began.
However, the Traffic Officers decided to proceed with the investigation without any charge against one of them. They revisited the scene, talked to eyewitnesses, and reconstructed the accident scene before proceeding back to headquarters for the investigation.
With overwhelming evidence of wrong, following the investigation, the Traffic Officers went into a brief caucus before coming back to say their colleague was in the wrong and asked that the Unit repairs the Garblahs’ vehicle.
At this point, all the officers in the investigation room including the ARU Commander and driver began to beg and apologized on behalf of Mr. 121 Christopher Roberts, the power-drunk police officer.
Imagine, had this been a civilian, driving an unregistered vehicle, with a drunken appearance, no license, and no document for his vehicle? Sad, isn’t it? But these are law enforcement officers who have no respect for the law they claim to be enforcing.
Now, the Garblahs will have to be inconvenient for the next four days by those who should be protecting them but yet chose to subject them to psychological pains and trauma from insults by a so-called senior officer Mr. 121 Christopher Roberts who should have exercised maturity but failed.
The ARU Commander in the Garblahs’ opinion acted more professionally and more maturely like the Traffic Investigators in handling the issue from the start but failed to tell his boss that he had proceeded wrongly against the couple.
The vehicle was taken back to Dolphin for repair work by the police, but the Garblahs are considering legal options against Mr. Christopher Roberts.