The release stated: “we urge the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to look into this matter and to ensure appropriate measures are taken to stamp out police use of excessive force and the impunity that goes with it.”
The release stated that the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) has a constitutional mandate to protect the lives and property of Sierra Leoneans, but that over the years “we have seen incidences of the violation of the constitutional mandate in the discharge of their duties.”
The right-based organization further noted that they are concerned that impunity of police abuses is deeply entrenched in Sierra Leone as the police have used excessive force, including lethal force in the discharge of their constitutional duty in previous cases.
The release added: “On March 23 2017, a young Sierra Leonean boy was shot dead and two students were injured by gunshots in Bo when the Operations Support Division (OSD) of the Police fired live ammunition to disperse unarmed students protesting against the closure of Njala University. Similarly, on the 16th August 2016, two boys were killed and four men injured by gunshots when OSD police officers opened fire on youth protesters in Kabala in what was regarded as unlawful and excessive use of force.”
The release went on to state that in all of the alleged police killings, “SDI is unaware of any Police Officer held responsible for any of the incidents mentioned above despite recommendations from the IPCB and Commissions of Inquiry.”
“While there have been internal Police investigations into some of the cases by the Complaints Discipline and Internal Investigation Department (CDIID), there has been insufficient public information about disciplinary measures taken against Police officers or what steps were taken towards internal police reform,” the release maintained.
The SDI called on the Sierra Leone Police to use maximum restraint in their operations, noting that Sierra Leone is not a police state and to treat their constitutional mandate of protecting lives and property of Sierra Leoneans more seriously.