LIBERIA: Justice Minister Lifts Suspension On Motorbike Riders, Police Officer, 3 Civilians Held For Motorcyclist’s Death

Motorbikes are once again allowed to ply Paynesville roads with the lifting of the ban imposed on use of the streets in this community by the Justice Ministry.
 
It can be recalled that the Justice Ministry last month imposed an indefinite ban on motorbikes plying of Paynesville streets.
 
This followed a standoff between the Liberia National Police and motorcyclists on April 16 that led to the burning down of the Zone 5 Police Depot in Red Light and the death of a motorcyclist.
 
Speaking at the Ministry of Information press briefing at the ministry Thursday, Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh said motorbike riding is now permitted in Paynesville and its environs.
 
He, however, said this is subject to adherence to the new policy that has been introduced by government to ensure safety.
 
He named the policy as motorcyclists’ restriction to ride only on feeder roads within the Paynesville Community such as Duport and GSA roads, among others.
 
He added that motorcyclists will not be allowed to ply the main road from ELWA to Paynesville Red Light and Paynesville Red Light to Mount Barclay.
 
Sannoh said the officers that were involved in the death of the motorcyclist are now in police custody, and assured that justice will be done, adding “this action is to show a clear lesson that no one is above or below the law.”

In another development, a police officer and three civilians have been held liable for the death of motorcyclist Alfred Tarnue, Jr. in Paynesville on April 16, according to the Ministry of Justice.

Disclosing this at the Ministry of Information press briefing Thursday, Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh said this is predicated upon the findings of a month-long investigation, coupled with an autopsy report submitted to the ministry.

Sannoh indicated that the independent investigative committee recommended that the police officer and the three civilians, whose names were not disclosed, are responsible directly or indirectly for the death of Tarnue.

Sannoh noted that the investigation also shows that the police officer was not in uniform nor was he on official police duty during the chase which led to Tarsue’s death, adding that the motorcyclist died of an unnatural cause.

“The autopsy findings confirmed that Tarnue died as the result of injuries sustained on the right side of his head, and there were also bruises on the right side of his neck which suggested that pressure was exerted on that part of his body, thereby leading to his death,” Sannoh said.

He said the officer acted in a manner unbecoming of a police officer and by so doing his action undermines the integrity of the Liberia National Police (LNP).

“I have instructed the Inspector General of the LNP to also arrest the three persons (civilians) involved in the incident,” Sannoh pointed out.

Sannoh, who is also Liberia’s Attorney General, disclosed that the police officer involved has been in police custody throughout the investigation.

It can be recalled that on Thursday, April 16, scores of angry motorcyclists stormed the Paynesville Community in protest at the alleged killing of one of their fellow motorcyclists, Alfred Tarnue, Jr, by a police officer.

The cyclists in their protest, set ablaze the Zone Five Police Depot in Red Light Market, destroyed several others and physically assaulted several police officers.

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