Liberia: Inspector General of Police Slams Human Rights Commission's Report On January 6 Protest

Monrovia — The Liberia National Police Inspector General has accused the Independent National Human Rights Commission of "bias" and embarking on "a smear campaign" against the police and the government.

"I see them as not being independent because they think they want to use the police as a means of getting international support," Inspector General Patrick Sudue said Thursday in an interview with FrontPageAfrica.

The police boss condemnation of the INHRC comes following a release by the Commission accusing the LNP of breaking the rules of engagement by using force against "peaceful protester" when they dispersed them by using teargas and hot water cannon.

In a press statement Wednesday, January 8, Atty. Bartholomew B. Colley, Acting chairman of the INCHR, called for an investigation of the Police over the use of "excessive of force" against the protesters on Monday.

But in a sharp reaction on Thursday in Monrovia, Col. Sudue slammed the INHRC for consistently releasing "bias and prejudicial" reports against the Police.

"They are absolutely biased and their action is intended to derail the integrity of the police so as to gain international support," he alleged.

"If you have a human rights commission in your country that is reporting negatively about the police, you think what the international human rights commission will do," Sudue added when asked about the ramifications of "negative and bias" reports against the police.

"So, you cannot use the police for your own self-aggrandizement, because the more you report of perceived security lapses, it will claim the attention of the international human rights commission to send you more funding, and I think they want more funding that's why they're doing this."

In his further criticism of the INHRC, Sudue displayed a 14-minute video clip showing police officers and a staff of the INHRC engaging and negotiating with protesters to discontinue the cooking of food on the grounds of the Capitol.

In the video, viewed by FPA, a supervisor of the INHRC identified as Tamba Johnson can be seen collaborating with the Police as they engaged the protesters.

Based on the video evidence, the Inspector General of the LNP then argued that for the Commission to claim in its report that the police did not engage the protesters before using water cannons and teargas to disburse the crowd, was "hypocritical, bias and unfair to the reputation of the police".

He alleged that no one from the Commission contacted the police during its investigation of the incident. He, at the same time, refuted "wild spread perception" that the police used "excessive force" to disburse the protesters.

"There is not one person that the human rights commission pointed to say 'this is one of the victims that excessive force was used against'. There was no body injured or nobody taken to the hospital, so how can you say the police used excessive force?"

Meanwhile, Sudue revealed how he had written the INHRC in early August 6, 2019 cataloguing several of the commission's prejudicial and bias report against the LNP.

In the letter, a copy of which is in the possession of FPA, Sudue accused the INHRC of "not always verifying or authenticate its information before coming to the public as it relates to the police; but rather, the commission will always hastily accuse the LNP of police brutality before asking for investigation."

The Police boss then outlined in the letter several incidents where the LNP informed the INHRC of brutality against its officers but the commission failed to investigate or take record.

Stating one incident, he narrated how six police officers were attacked and brutalized in the Chicken-Soup factory community when they went to assist court sheriff in executing an eviction order. The community had resorted to violence and throw stones and deadly weapons at the officers.

In another incident, the police said when its officers again responded to a motorbike and truck accident in the Kebbah community, residents went amok and intended to burn the truck. The crowd began violent and throw stones at the officers when they attempted to prevent the destruction of the vehicle.

The LNP IG accused the Commission of openly accusing the Police of shooting a lady who sustained serious injury on her neck. However, when test was conducted to prove the cause of the wound it was established by a medical examination that the woman was not injured by a bullet.

He said the INHRC rejected the medical report alleging that the medical report was "compromised by the doctor in favor of the police".

Wrote IG Sudue to INHRC Chairman Atty. Colley: "These inconsistencies in the Independent National Human rights approach to the human rights issues involving the Liberia National Police as indicated surmise to us that the Commission is not actually independent but rather biased perhaps with the intent to win international recognition by tarnishing the image of the Police.

"The Independent National Commission on Human Rights has lost its credibility under your watch and the LNP does not trust your ability to independently investigate human rights concerning the police since you are in the habit of not balancing your investigations and you are also known for prejudicing incidents before getting the facts."

In response to the LNP boss' assertions in which Col. Sudue also called on the INHRC to exercise due diligence by verifying allegations against the LNP before releasing reports, Atty. Colley lauded the police boss for "the professional manner" he catalogued his grievances.

"I hereby, honorable Inspector general, take kindly your advice which calls for the due diligence and constructive dialogue in the discharge of the Commission's statutory mandate," the INHRC chairman stated in his reply.

"Be assured that the intent of the INHRC is never to denigrate in the public sphere the work of the Liberia National Police. I am fully knowledgeable that your institution's work is parallel to that of the INCHR by ensuring that the society remains cohesive and peaceful under the guiding radiance of the respect for the rule of law."

Atty. Colley's request for a new page with the LNP as inferred in his communication was abused when the commission opted to release another "unverified and biased" report about the January 6 protest, Col. Sudue said.

"It's a smear campaign against the police. It is a calculated lie intended to smear the reputation of not only the LNP but the entire government," he said.

"When an incident occurred in 10 to 15 minutes they will come out with a statement without even investigating. This commission should be able to fairly investigate because whatsoever they send to their international partners will be what they will hold and dwell upon to write a final report on the country and this is damning to Liberia.

"You cannot be a Liberian and always focus on sending negative report out of the country because you want them to give you handout - because the more damning report you send the more funding to work with. Don't use the police to acquire funding from your international partners."

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