A situation involving exposure of pepper spray canisters at the National Police Headquarters on Capitol Hill, Monrovia left police officers running helter-skelter with burning eyes Tuesday, 03 December. Some of the officers fled the building into the streets to escape the burning sensation that nearly led to suffocation.
This reporter, who was at the LNP headquarters when the incident occurred, observed the spray spread from the basement of the building to various offices upstairs, constraining staff to take to their heels in self-preservation.
The New Dawn could not establish up to press time, who unsealed or exposed the teargas during morning hours when staff had just reported for work and were seated in their various offices.Police spokesman, Inspector Moses Carter, was indisposed for comment despite waiting several hours in his office to ascertain root cause of the unfortunate incident.
However, some officers, who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity, expressed complete astonishment over the incident that created serious embarrassment for both employees and ordinary members of the public who had gone at the headquarters for various purposes.
They lament that it was difficult to know which one of the officers especially, from the riot unit under the basement of the LNP headquarters that did the act.Outside of the headquarters, passers-by and peddlers, upon seeing police officers running from out of their own headquarters, themselves began to hide their various markets, including cooked food and other commodities for fear of unsuspecting criminals.
Meanwhile, calm was eventually restored at the National Police Headquarters after specialized riot police officers moved in and removed the exposed pepper spray under the basement.In a related development, the Liberia National police on Monday dispatched riot officers to the Slipway/Crown Hill community where electoral violence led to one death on Sunday, 1st December. Reports from the community say the police deployment came after some disgruntled residents took the street, demanding justice for the victim only identified as Edward, who allegedly got drowned, while escaping police arrest. By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne