MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Liberia National Police has taken the responsibility to provide further medical treatment for Helena Nimely, the victim of a recent police operation to disperse angry protestors, although it has denied that live bullets fired by officers caused the injury.
Inspector General Patrick Sudue told a press conference in Monrovia last Tuesday that the police would claim medical responsibility because he wants to leave a legacy of the police as a people-centered force. He said he would make it a tradition to care for individuals who sustain wounds during operations, whether or not officers caused the injury.
Sudue said the LNP is meanwhile reaching out to Nimley’s family to settle her medical bills and ensure that she is fully recovered.
He said the police was also particularly concerned because the victim is a Liberian and must be treated with dignity like any other citizen.
“It’s not that the police carry people to recovery because of guilt or because it wants to shield or cover something; No, we are all humans. That could be my sister; that could be my nephew’s auntie or whatsoever. She’s a Liberian and we are concerned. If one Liberian dies, I feel hurt,” he said.
The inspector general said there is an ongoing investigation and that if it is established that any officer used disproportionate force, the officer would face punitive actions. He added that the investigation had not yet established whether a gun fired was lethal on nonlethal.
Sudue’s clarification follows widespread speculation that the victim was hit by live bullets fired by the police while trying to calm a protest led by motorcyclists who attempted setting ablaze a truck and its driver after it reportedly was involved in an accident in Barnesville last month.
FrontPage Africa reported that Florence Nagbe, the health practitioner who attended to the victim following the incident, confirmed that the victim sustained a bullet wound on her neck. However, Nagbe said no bullet was found in the wound.
According to the same report, Col. Sadiatu Reeves, the inspector general of police for administration, had disclosed to reporters on the scene of the incident that two officers would be investigated for the shooting, but the police spokesman, Moses Carter, denied there was any shooting during the police operation.
Featured photo by Gbatemah Senah