7 March 2016

Liberia: ERU Officers Dismissed

The Liberia National Police have charged three officers of the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) with manslaughter in connection with the shooting incident at Bright's Farm. The officers' names are yet to be disclosed.

A police statement quotes Director Chris Massaquoi as saying that the investigation has established that following the shooting incident, the three ERU officers and the Bright's Farm Operation Manager proceeded to the home of Mr. Siafa Bright, the owner of the farm, discussed and reportedly agreed to conceal the identities of the officers.

Director Massaquoi said the three ERU officers have been identified, investigated, charged with Manslaughter, which is in violation of Chapter 14 Sub-Chapter A Section 14.2 of the Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia. The officers have been dismissed from the Liberia National Police in compliance with chapter 3.0, 3.1 and 3.1.2 of the LNP Duty Manual entitled Prohibited Conduct, as well as, the ERU Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Section 4.0, Sub-Section 4.1, captioned "Command and Control" and forwarded to court for prosecution.

Massaquoi said neither he, his Deputy for Operations, nor the General Commander of ERU gave any authorization or approval for the deployment or assignment of the three ERU officers to the Bright's farm on February 27, 2016.

Meanwhile, the LNP says it is still investigating the level of involvement by the Management of the Bright's Farm. The police if the investigation establishes the management's involvement, they shall be charged and forwarded to court for prosecution.

The LNP is warning all Police officers to uphold their oath to protect life and property, as well as, adhere to their ethics at all times.

Director Massaquoi wants officers to refrain from engaging in unprofessional and unethical acts, which contravene the LNP duty manual and policies of the organization.

Massaquoi stressed that he will not relent in dismissing any officer bent on defaming the image of the Police.

It can be recalled that a shooting incident occurred on the Bright's Farm, along the Monrovia-Kakata highway on February 27, 2016 resulting to the injury and subsequent death of Stephen Borbor (alias Kenneth), a 32-yr-old resident of Mount Barclay.

Giving background of the incident, Massaquoi said on the 4th of January 2016, the Liberia National Police received a writ of arrest from the Bensonville Magisterial Court under the signature of His Honor Mark S. Saah for the arrest of one Isaac Urey, Morris Gaye, Jr. and others to be identified as defendants charged with the commission of the crimes, "Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief and Contempt of Court".

The writ in question was never attention to the ERU But the source of authority for the involvement of the three (3) ERU officers into the execution of said writ was unilateral.

"Our investigation has established that the three (3) ERU officers were contacted and picked up by the Operations Manager of the Bright's Farm, Mr. Pius Z. George, within the vicinity of the Coca Cola Factory Community and taken to their farm without the knowledge of LNP/ERU authority. This seems to imply a prior arrangement between the Management of Bright's Farm and the three ERU officers, which Mr. George categorically denied but later admitted after thorough investigation." the statement indicated.

According to the police, the act on the part of the three ERU officers by carrying such task is in violation of the ERU SOP Section 3.0 Sub-Section 3.1 captioned "Direct Command", which states: "Direct command of the ERU is the responsibility of the ERU Commander, who shall report to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) through the Deputy Inspector General of Police for Operations (DIGP/Ops). Routine deployment shall be under the direction of the ERU Commander in cooperation with the DIGP/Ops".


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