7 March 2019

Liberia: First Responders Narrate Moments Before Innis Died

Photo: Central Bank of Liberia
The Central Bank of Liberia building.

As investigations into the mysterious death of Matthew Innis, Deputy Director for Micro-finance in the Regulation and Supervision Department (at the Central Bank of Liberia) continues, two eye-witnesses have emerged with previously unknown details leading up to, and immediately after Innis was injured, before he died.

The two eye-witnesses told the Daily Observer that they watched from a distance, and one claiming to have seen a taxi pass not long before Mr. Innis was discovered lying on the ground. The other eye-witness also claimed that Mr. Innis was hit by a speeding car.

"I was patrolling after 1:00 a.m. and saw a white Jeep parked across with its lights on and doors halfway opened. I decided not to inquire because I thought maybe it was a husband and wife. After a while, I saw this taxi coming from the other side with heavy speed, and then I heard a heavy 'thud' sound, like someone closing the door. I never went to check to see what was happening," the first eye-witness, a security guard in the vicinity, stated.

The security guard (name withheld) also revealed that after a while, he decided to check on what was happening and discovered that Mr. Innis was hurt, lying on the ground behind his white jeep and the driver's door slightly opened as he gasped for air. While trying to figure out what had happened, a taxi driver approached, curious as well as to what had happened to the CBL official.

"He said he was going to call the police for us, and left only to return not long after with three police officers," the eye-witness stated.

The taxi driver, whose name is withheld because he is helping the police with the investigation, told the Daily Observer via phone that he remembered passing the scene where Innis lay dying and noticed a security guard pacing back and forth, which heightened his curiosity as to what was going on.

Similarly, he told the Daily Observer via phone that he drove past the 72nd community on Saturday morning (after 1:00 a.m.), to pick up a client, in Sinkor.

"When I was going to town, I did not take any notice of anything. No other car was on the road at that time, and the road was very dark because no electricity was on at the time. On my way back, I picked up my girlfriend and, passing again through 72nd, we both ran into the situation. Even though she did not want me to stop, I told her that I had to report the case to the police and we did," he added.

According to the taxi driver, he was not sure as to what had hurt Innis, because there was no sign of another vehicle, but he noticed that a security guard was pacing up and down as the victim struggled to breathe.

The section of the SKD Boulevard where the suspected vehicle reportedly hit Matthew Innis

"I got there and met him lying down and I did not know how long he had been lying there. I went to call police officers at Jacob Town around 2:30-3:00 (a.m.) and, on my way there, I saw three police officers at the checkpoint and told them what I had seen, and they got in my car and we went back to where Innis was lying down," he said.

The driver remembered that the police officers placed Innis in his white jeep and rushed him to Peace Home Clinic on Peace Island in Congo Town.

"A clinic attendant told us there was no bed for him, and so I decided to leave them there and went home. In the morning, I checked at the police station and they told me that he had died," he said.

On the other hand, a source very close to the family stated that after leaving Peace Home Clinic, the officers who were driving Innis' vehicle proceeded to the ELWA Hospital. However, they missed the road and, when they finally arrived there they were told by a Physician Assistant (PA) on the shift that Innis was already dead.

"They checked his pulse while he was still laid in his car and said he was gone. But there was an unidentified jeep, bearing 'foreign' plates, that followed behind the police, and tried entering with them," the family source said.

The family says they are looking into who may have been in the vehicle, and ask that anyone knowing further facts must work with the Liberian National Police to seek justice for the late Innis.

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