Liberia: Family of 3-Yr-Old Who Died in West Point from Police Brutality Yearning for Justice
MONROVIA – The family of three-year-old Francis Mensah who died after a pot of boiling water kicked by a police officer in West Point poured on him is yearning for justice but to no avail.
Report by Obediah Johnson, [email protected]
The officer has been identified as Sonnie Jallah.
How it happened
“When she came, she said we should pack the things and get indoor; while packing the things, she kicked the water from the fire and everything wasted on Francis and he got burned. Her name is Sonnie Jallah and since that day, we have not seen her yet.”– Mabel McGill, Mother of Three-Year-Old Deceased
The mother of the three-year-old who is just 17 years of age told FrontPageAfrica that her grandmother had bathed the toddler and she, the mother, had gone inside for clothes for him.
She said, within that time, the police officer came and asked them to go inside the house and while she was packing her things to enter the house, she kicked the pot boiling water which dumped on the lower parts of his body, including his private part.
The incident happened on occurred on April 20.
“When she came, she said we should pack the things and get indoor; while packing the things, she kicked the water from the fire and everything wasted on Francis and he got burned. Her name is Sonnie Jallah and since that day, we have not seen her yet,” explained Mabel McGill, mother of the deceased.
With the vivid expression of agony on her face and in her tone, she said the though her family galvanized resources and paid for drugs that were being prescribed by doctors, her son didn’t live beyond the afternoon hours of Sunday, April 26.
She lamented: “We bought medicines from outside to be treating him because the medicines that the doctors were using to treat him where not in the hospital. We only paid money for medicines, but we did not pay to remove the body from the hospital”.
“Since I lost my child, I am not feeling fine. What do I have to do when he is already gone? I don’t have any child right now; my Francis is gone.”
When the state of emergency began on April 8, there was confusion over the terms under which the joint security would enforce adherence.
It was uncertain whether people were allowed to be outside their houses but avoid the main roads or totally remain indoor at 3 pm.
There were several criticisms from citizens that members of the joint security were chasing people with rattans, even for sitting in front of their houses.
This was the case of Officer Jallah who kicked the pot of boiling water on the three-year-old in her exuberance to enforce the state of emergency.
FrontPageAfrica has obtained a copy of the medical report which details the toddler’s cause of death as “acute tubular, necrosis, severe and major burns”.
The medical report was signed by Dr. Solomon A. Konneh.
The family’s stance
“The government or the LNP has not been involved from the very day of the incident even though we complained to the police Director the next day incident happened. They came later after the death of little Francis Mensah. The person that represented the police was 104 (Ambrose Nebo); and he tried to appeal. I told him that we expected the government very soon, but they came late and the family remains firm on the issue; we need justice”.– George C. Davies, Family’s Spokesman
Family members of the victim are not taking lightly the death of the three-year-old.
They claimed that all documents intended to ensure the smooth travel of little Francis to his grandmother in the United States had been finalized, but the outbreak of the coronavirus in Liberia caused the delay of their trip.
According to the family’s spokesman, the police failed to live up to its promise of shouldering the cost of burial.
Mr. George C. Davies, an uncle to the victim’s mother said that the LNP has requested the family to wait for the outcome of an investigation that has been launched by the Professional Standard Division (PSD), following a complaint filed by the family.
“The government or the LNP has not been involved from the very day of the incident even though we complained to the police Director the next day incident happened. They came later after the death of little Francis Mensah. The person that represented the police was 104 (Ambrose Nebo); and he tried to appeal. I told him that we expected the government very soon, but they came late and the family remains firm on the issue; we need justice”.
He vowed that the victim’s family will continue to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion to help ensure that state security actors do not go with impunity for lawlessness permeated against peaceful people.
“The police have asked us to be at the PSD by 10:00AM next Tuesday for continuation of the investigation; but any outcome of the investigation that is not satisfactory to the family – if the government tries to play, tamper with or compromise this case, we will go to court because we have witnesses. I am the primary witness because I was on the scene. We need justice”.
Speaking further, Mr. Davies pointed out that the family has expended more than US$900 since the incident, adding that, “we have not received a dime from the government and we will not compromise this case”.
He maintained that the prolonged delay of the case by the LNP is a calculated attempt by government to compromise the case.
Meanwhile, the family is calling on President George Manneh Weah to intervene into the matter by ensuring the establishment of an independent committee to launch an investigation into the matter.
The death of little Francis Mensah brings to two, the number of persons that have so far died in recent times as a result of state security actors enforcing a state of emergency operations during the outbreaks of an epidemic and pandemic in Liberia.
When contacted via telephone, police spokesman, Moses Carter promised to call this writer to clearly state the LNP reaction to the allegations within a five-minute period.
Though several calls and text messages where placed to the LNP spokesperson, he refused to return the call or respond to the multiple text messages sent him.
Additional efforts exerted to contact Mr. Carter on his private and assigned LNP numbers didn’t materialize as both numbers were switched off up to press time.