‘I Felt A Knock From The Back’: Police Brutalizes Woman Street Vendor
Monrovia-Sonie James was not in the wrong place at the wrong time but an officer of the Liberia National Police struck her in the left eye, leaving her with temporary blindness, at least until an ophthalmologist can decide the fate of her eye.
Report by Mae Azango [email protected]
“My market finished by 5 p.m. and then my little sister said she was hungry, so when I opened my money bucket to give her money for food I just felt someone knocked me from the back, and when I turned I saw a PSU officer with his shirt opened and he knocked the rattan in my left eye and asked what are you doing on the street at this hour?” explained 24-year-old Sonie, a sandwich seller.
According to Sonie, her goods, cell phone and her money were taken away by officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) on Wednesday, January 4 evening on Buchanan Street during a raid. She said the men had batons and rattans.
“I told him I was not living around there, but I came from selling. Right away the other PSU officer knocked me down to the ground and when he got up and was trying to run across the road, he took my money bucket from me. So I went to their big man in the police car to report the officer who whipped my eye with the rattan. He then told the officer to get into the car for them to leave, and I asked him, why they were taking my money, and they drove away,” she said as streak her tears rolled down her one eye.
She narrated that she went to police station the very evening the incident occurred because she had no money to treat herself but without providing her a dime, she was told to treater herself and seek reimbursement another day.
“Tears and blood can be coming from my eyes when I’m talking. I did not sleep last night because of the pain is too much. How did they expect me to treat myself when they took all my money? So I called my boyfriend and we went to the drug store around South beach and the lady charged me 850.00 L$ for treatment, but my boyfriend only had L$ $400.00, balance L$ 450.00. The lady is supposed to give me injection for the swelling but I do not have money to complete the treatment,” she said painfully.
Sonie said the money in her possession which was taken by the police was L$ 5,800 and a cellphone worth US$35 that she had just purchased.
When FPA contacted Police spokesman Sam Collins why Sonie was brutalized by the men in blue, he responded that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time as the police had gone to raid she was caught up. He said the area was infested with muggers.
But quit interestingly, Sonie who was told to treat herself without money, was taken to the Seven Days Adventist Hospital for treatment by the police, upon hearing Sonie interview on a local radio show on the following morning.
Interestingly, Sonie was taken to the SDA Hospital on 12th Street for treatment following an interview on a local radio.
When quizzed why the victim’s properties were not returned, he said an investigation will be launched.
“The case will be investigated, but first of all, we want to finish with the medical aspect, but in the main time, some food items were given to Sonie when she left the SDA hospital,” Said Collins via mobile.