Suspected Policemen Ordered Re-arrested for Death Of Bus Conductor

The Justice Ministry has released the autopsy report following the death of a bus conductor, Alieu Sheriff, as a result of alleged beating by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on July 29, 2021.

Sheriff died minutes after engaging in tussle with some police officers in the fence of the National Transit Authority (NTA) in Gardnersville.

Following immense pressure that saw two protests, a five-man team was set up by the Justice Ministry to work closely with the police in reaching a logical conclusion of an investigation. The committee included family members, friends and civil society organizations.

The autopsy report has now established that the cause of the death is unnatural due to brute force injury inflicted on the back of the victim’s head.

The Justice Ministry autopsy report also shows that the late Alieu Sheriff died of injuries sustained from the beating by police officers.

The Justice Ministry has therefore ordered the Police Inspector General, Col. Patrick Sudue, to immediately re-arrest suspected officers Samuel N. Borbor, Harris Monger and Alexander Seakour in order to have them  processed and forwarded to court for prosecution.

On that fateful July 29, 2021, at 15:12hrs, patrol officers from Zone Four depot were called to respond at the NTA bus parking yard along the Japan Freeway to put a situation under control.

Reports said when the officers responded to the NTA parking situation, the lifeless body of Sheriff was seen lying on the ground unconscious.

Predicated upon the condition of the victim, he was rushed at the John F. Kennedy Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival by medical authorities.

According to a proxy of Justice Minister Frank Musa Dean, the police was ordered to arrest and conduct preliminary investigation of the alleged suspects.

He explained that the suspects were kept in detention in keeping with the statutory period at the police headquarters.

However, consistent with article 21(F) of the Liberian constitution of 1986, the suspects were released in keeping with their constitutional and human rights best standards and turned over to individuals having moral influence over them and to appear when requested.

It can be recollected that in the wake of demand to bring the perpetrators to justice, having protested on the previous Friday, family members and supporters of the deceased staged another protest on Capitol Hill in Monrovia on Tuesday, August 3, 2021.

Unlike the Friday protest that was confined to Gardnersville, the protesters marched from the newly dedicated Japanese Freeway unto the headquarters of the police, chanting slogans in demand of justice.

As the protesters remained at the main entrance of the police headquarters, senior police officers and government officials including Assistant Information Minister Jurah A. M. Sando requested that they remain calm.

Thereafter, selected ring leaders of the protesters were called in for meeting to address their concerns.

While the meeting was ongoing, huge number of protesters marched to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the temporary home of the President and blocked the main road, thereby preventing the movement of vehicles.

This prompted Mike Jabateh, one of the leaders of the protesters, to appeal to them to leave the main road and return to the police headquarters were their colleagues were holding discussion with senior government officials.

But the protesters refused to listen to him despite pleading with them to leave the road. The protesters were seen preventing vehicles that attempted passing through the Tubman Boulevard route.

The protest later turned violent when the protesters prevented an ambulance believed to be carrying a patient from passing through.

This apparently angered riot police officers who decided to move in and began firing teargas, while the protesters responded with stones. The officers were seen chasing the protesters while firing teargas to prevent them from regrouping.

Without delay, the main road was cleared of protesters with several stones left behind. After succeeding in getting them off the road, the police officers moved into nearby communities in search of the protesters.

At that moment, several persons believed to be part of the protest were arrested and taken to the police headquarters and detained.  Several businesses on Capitol Hill were forced to close for fear of being looted.

Meanwhile, after holding discussion with representatives of the protesters, Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf stated to the media that he received a call from President George Weah, thus instructing him to meet with the protesters to address their concerns.

He said the President was concerned that group of citizens were protesting for the death of one of their colleagues.

Minister Varney disclosed that during the meeting, the protesters through their representatives were assured that the government would do everything to ensure that justice was served speedily.

The Minister also said it was agreed that a committee comprising representatives of the protesters be set up to form part of the investigation in order to ensure transparency.

The Internal Affairs Minister then appealed to the protesters to leave the street and look up to the government to give them speedy justice.

Also, leaders of the protest including Jabateh and Amara Fofana called on the protesters to remain calm, while assuring that justice was to be served.

Prior to the protest turning violent, the aggrieved protesters, predominately Muslims demanded the body of the deceased.

Imam Ibrahim Kabah said whenever a Muslim dies, he or she must be buried immediately.

According to Kabah, the family of the late Sheriff had not seen his body since his passing and that the family wanted to take delivery of his body for funeral purpose.

“Since the incident, we have not gotten any update or way forward from the police as to what occurred and who is responsible for the death of our brother,” Kabah said.

Kabah added that the police should be protecting lives and properties rather than beating peaceful citizens.

The Justice Ministry of Justice thereafter directed the conduct of an autopsy on the remains of Sheriff, a bus conductor.

According to the Justice Ministry, the autopsy was intended to establish the scientific cause of death and aid the investigation.

The Ministry assured family, friends and sympathizers of the deceased of a speedy investigation aimed at ensuring that justice was served.

“All concerned are urged to remain peaceful and calm, as all efforts are being made to impartially investigate the facts and circumstances on the cause of death,” the Justice Ministry said in  a statement.

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