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Crime & PunishmentGeneralLiberia news

Police brutality leads to death

-Family demands justice 

Police brutality leaves one dead in 72nd Community.

By Emmanuel wise Jipoh 

Paynesville, Liberia, April 23, 2024 –Family members are seeking Justice for their dead relative, 46-year-old Austine Yarkpawolo Freeman, who died following Police brutal assault recently in Paynesville.

Reports say the late Austine did not commit any crime but was unmercifully beaten by seven Police officers, leading to his sudden death late Wednesday, April 17, 2024.

He reportedly died upon arrival at ELWA Hospital in Paynesville after the brutal beating received from the Police.

The sad incident occurred in 72nd Community around Onace Bibligual International Christian School System near 72nd Junction, Paynesville.

The late Freeman was uncle to a man identified as James Boima, commonly known as “Papay,” who came to his house to sleep after conflict ensued between him (James Boima) and his girlfriend, Ruth David, on the morning of Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at 2:00 a.m.

Hawa Boima, a niece of the deceased, narrated to the NEW DAWN that the late Austine Yarkpawolo Freeman was allegedly mal-handled unmercifully by seven unnamed Police officers from Zone 9 Police Depot in Jacob Town, Paynesville.

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Hawa explains that on April 17 at 2:00 am, while they were asleep, seven officers of the Liberia National Police allegedly broke into the home of the late Austine Yarkpawolo Freeman, behind the ONACE International Christian School in 72nd Community and beat him and his Nephew, James Boima for unknown reasons before handcuffing James and taking him away on motorbike to the Zone 9 Depot, while Austine was left lying on the ground helplessly.

She details that her late uncle, still in pain after the Police had left the scene, tearfully told her and other relatives, including some neighbors, that it was because he took James in at his residence that’s why the Police flogged them.

According to her, the late Mr. Freeman had detailed that before his death, James Boima, alias “Papay,” had come early Wednesday, knocking on his door to spend the morning with him because there was conflict between him and his girlfriend, Ruth David.

“We were sleeping when the officers came at 2:00 am, and when we heard the sound, a few persons came outside, and one was me, who heard the sound at my uncle’s door. And before I could leave my room to come, the Police drove out on the motorbike with my brother handcuffed, while my uncle, Mr. Freeman, was lying helpless”, she narrates.

Hawa  continues that when day broke,  the late Austine Yarkpawolo Freeman told her and other neighbors that he was experiencing severe pain from the beating by the Police and needed to be taken to the hospital, adding “It was by then he starting breathing bit by bit,  and we rushed him from one clinic to another; first to the Afro- Medical Clinic, later the Lofa Eyes Clinic in Jacob, Benson Hospital in Duport road, but they all rejected him, so we took him at the ELWA Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.”

They have killed him; he bled to death, with fumes oozing from his nose; the Police are evil and wicked; they killed an innocent man, and we need justice”, she laments.

Fatu Boima, mother of the deceased, was speechless but told reporters, “Journalists, you see it oh-oo. The Police have killed my son; what has he done to deserve being killed?” They beat him to death; ah God, my son. Justice, oh-oo, Justice.”

Police Spokesman Moses Carter (102) confirmed the incident and said the Liberia National Police (LNP) is investigating the situation.

Mr. Carter did not provide details about the officers involved but refuted the claim that they were seven Police officers of the Jacob Town Depot. According to him, there were rather four officers.

Meanwhile, Austine’s death has sparked outrage in the community, as residents are demanding a thorough investigation into the incident so that Justice may be served. Many are calling for transparency and swift action to address police misconduct and protect the rights of citizens.

At the same time, Montserrado County District# 5 Representative Priscilla Cooper has vowed to pursue the case to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. The body of the late Freeman has since been deposited at Abraham Roberts Funeral home opposite Stephen Tolbert Estate in Gardnersville. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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