Liberia News: FREEMAN’S ACTION WAS NOT CRIMINAL

Monrovia-Feb-19-TNR:Findings of the Report of the Special Independent Commission of Inquiry on the November 7, 2011 violence around the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) headquarters revealed that then Commissioner J. Nelson Freeman did enter the CDC headquarters during the violence but had an altercation with UNMIL officers, who tried to disarm him.

The Report of the Special Independent Commission of Inquiry on the November 7, 2011 violence in and around the vicinity of the CDC headquarters which was later submitted to then Justice Minister Christiana P. Tah, a copy of which was obtained by this paper further exonerates Mr. Freeman following series of investigation.

In the report, the investigation established that Deputy Commissioner J. Nelson Freeman on November 7, 2011, did enter the CDC Compound during the rioting and had an altercation with UNMIL officers, who tried to disarm him.

According to the findings, DCP Freeman discharged his service weapon in an attempt to resist disarmament by the UNMIL officers. When questioned further as to why he discharged his weapon, DCP Freeman indicated that he was constrained to fire because he was afraid his disarmament would expose him to greater danger while in the compound of the CDC headquarters.

The Panel therefore concludes that Officer Freeman’s discharge of his firearm was in violation of LNP Firearm Policy, but said action can not be construed as criminal in that his weapon was not targeted at civilians or UNMIL personnel but was directed to the ground, and no one got injured as a result.

On other officers involved during the November 7, 2011 violence, the Commission’s report indicated that PSU Deputy Commander for Administration, Gawor Lake fired his pistol tour to five times from the Tubman Boulevard into a narrow road across from and in the proximity to the CDC compound.

Our review of the videos could not identify PSU Deputy Commander Lake firing his weapon. In criminal prosecution of an accused, the State must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. The evidence available in this case may not be sufficient to successfully prosecute the accused.

Among other things, the Commission’s report indicated that ERU Commander Alexander Saye fired his weapon four to five times from the Tubman Boulevard into a narrow road across from and in close proximity to the CDC compound.

Our review of the videos could not identify ERU Commander Saye tiring his weapon. The evidence available in this committee may not be sufficient to successfully prosecute the accused.

The Commission’s report indicated that Officer Kleyne fired seven rounds of cal. 5.56 mm ammunition from his M4 riffle. However no evidence concerning this shooting was documented neither was the shooting captured by any of the videos that we watched. It was noted that officer Kleyne could not account for the seven rounds of ammunition, but how he expended the seven rounds was not established.

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