Liberia’s Police Director Mr. Chris C. Massaquoi says the administration of the Liberia National Police or LNP takes “rigid actions” on police misconduct, but complains that “some people’s heads are hard.”
“We take rigid actions on police misconduct. But some people’s heads are hard, ok. When you got several children – you got ten children, you got two, sometimes one is excellent, the second one is bad,” Mr. Massaquoi said Friday, 5 February at the National Police Training Academy or NPTA in Paynesville.
Describing the police force as Liberia’s biggest security institution, the police chief said managing the organization is a challenge, having given a scenario that even among his five kids, a few are on course while one or two might not be on course with everything.
But he complained over how he takes blame for every misconduct of officers, citing an instance with the the latest issue surrounding the impropriety of senior officers accused of associating with armed robbers.
Those officers referred to include Commissioner Jessey Harris; Assistant Commissioner of Police Edwin T. Swen; Supt. Jonney B. Dean; Inspector Raffel Wilson; Inspector John Kollie; Detectives Varney Samah, Alexander Jabbah and Sam Ballah of the Crime Services Department.
“If I wanted to hide anything, I could have told Col. Karley … leave this thing alone and let us drag it. I wasn’t ought for hiding something,” he said in dispute of criticism that he was being pressured by the public to investigate the accused officers.
Mr. Massaquoi argued that the public has no knowledge about the case on grounds that before they got to know he had endorsed the recommendation and request to investigate the senior officers.
“ The same due process that the general public is entitled to, you as police officers getting implicated into any criminal matter – are also entitled to a due process,” he told officers at the NPTA over the weekend.
He cited difficulties in turning senior officers over to junior officers to be investigated, particularly within the very unit – the Crime Services Division – which they are heading, saying he had to forward raw findings from administrative investigation conducted to the Ministry of Justice for further action.
“… And he manages the Crime Services Division. Therefore, others involved too were senior officers. Do we take the senior officers and turn [them] over to the junior officers for investigation? Do we take assistant director and turn him over to junior officer for investigation?,” he asked.
Mr. Masaquoi says he is sure that the Solicitor General’s office will come up with what is right; and he will support the findings. “If the officers will have to be prosecuted, I will support that finding. But if some of the officers are not guilty, I will not support anybody being taken advantage of or the law go against because of not being in compliance with the law,” he noted.
He said he has been trying his best in terms taking action on police misconduct, but reminded officers that he will not be in the street and everywhere with them.“But what is important when you misstep, what do we do? We take the appropriate action? Yes we do,” he said.
By Winston W. Parley