Deputy Police Director for Operations Abraham Kromah is expected to face journalist Octavin Williams at the Monrovia Magisterial Court in a Simple Assault and Disorderly case.
Deputy Director Kromah and his state lawyers failed to show up for the case about two weeks ago when it was called. No reason was given for the failure of state lawyers and plaintiff Kromah to appear for the hearing.
However, a new assignment has been made for the case to be heard on Tuesday, July 22, 2014.
It remains unclear whether the Deputy Police Chief will appear for the case. It is also not known whether Col. Kromah will disengage from police operations pending the outcome of the case in keeping with the Standard Operations Procedure (SOP) of the Liberia National Police.
The Deputy Police Director is currently a complainant in the case “Abraham Kromah by and thru the Republic of Liberia Vs. Octavin Williams” at the Monrovia Magisterial Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.
Col. Kromah reportedly violated the Standard Operation Procedure of the Liberia National Police when he testified in a traffic violation case against journalist Williams while still in active police service.
The Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) of the LNP empowers the Director of Police to disrobe any officer, who is undergoing investigation or court proceeding. In the case with Deputy Director Kromah, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has the authority to do so through the Ministry of Justice.
The SOP on the disrobement of police officers undergoing investigation or in court for trial, apparently come to avoid fear of defendants and witnesses who will testify against the officer.
It can be recalled that police authorities disrobed officers who were undergoing probe or in court for trial whether complainant or defendant. Those officers were either reinstated or dismissed depending on the outcome of the case.
The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) has termed the arrest of journalist Williams as harassment.
The PUL described William’s arrest as a “classic act of harassment geared towards driving the journalist into self-censorship.”
The PUL said it was fully aware of an earlier complaint filed with it against Col. Kromah by journalist Williams in which the journalist accused him of threatening his life and going after him.
The release said the arrest comes just after it had gotten assurances from Col. Kromah that he was willing to appear for a hearing at the PUL for a probe into the complaint, pending an official communication.
“We now see the reality in the complaint filed by the journalist, and we believe that the unprovoked harassment, tyrannical arrest and unacceptable detention of journalist Williams as going beyond the conflicting reasons stated by the police,” PUL stressed.
Journalist Williams was whisked off Wednesday, July 2, 2014 on orders of Deputy Director Kromah in connection with an alleged traffic violation.
Williams was immediately ordered to take his vehicle at the Police headquarters because, according to Col. Kromah, the vehicle carrying Williams was bearing a foreign plate.
When the case was called Friday, Deputy Director and armed bodyguards arrived at the Court for the Traffic violation hearing. Following the hearing, Traffic Court Judge, Jomah Jallah adjudged journalist Williams guilty for driving a vehicle with foreign plates and fined US$75.00. The fine has since been paid into government’s coffers by journalist Williams.
Col. Kromah had earlier said the arrest of the journalist was not premeditated. Kromah said he is under obligation to enforce the law.