Rejoinder to ‘Killa Ace’s Fans Storm Kanifing Court’

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By Yusef Taylor @FlexDan_YT

How many times have you seen a headline and not bothered to read the contents? If you’re like me, you end up scrolling past many articles but the headline still carries some weight in sending across the overall message of the article.

Killa Ace’s Fans Storm Kanifing Court

This is the second time that I have observed misleading reporting and gross omissions on the case of Ali Baba Cham commonly known as Killa Ace’s arrest by the Police Anti Crime Unit. This time it was blatantly obvious as the body of the article was totally different from the headline. According to the headline published by Fatu Network’s Lamin Njie, I was expecting to read about how delinquent youths stormed a courthouse and left it in a terrible state. However, this claim couldn’t be far from the truth.

The article states that ‘Fans of Killa Ace on Thursday gathered around the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court to protest the arraignment of the rapper over alleged assault and breach of peace offences.’ In reality what occurred was a peaceful gathering including a Press Conference outside the court premises. Court cases can be contentious and it’s common practice in most court cases across the globe to speak to the press. To say ‘Killa Ace’s Fans Stormed the Court’ is a complete misrepresentation and at worst an attempt to demonise youths as idle, useless, troublemakers. At best it’s a poor attempt at sensationalism which distracts from the much-needed Police reforms this saga highlights.

Killa Ace Dragged to Court Over Assault

The story of Killa Ace arrest and incarceration by the Police was first broken on Social Media on October 31st by Killa Ace who included photos of his injuries allegedly sustained from his ordeal with the Police. Hence I was baffled by Lamin Njie’s report on Fatu Network which made no mention of the alleged victim’s claims of Police brutality. The huge omission of the article is that it fails to include the photos of Killa Ace injuries he was subjected to. Instead, the report mainly highlights that “he [Killa Ace] has also been accused of assaulting a police officer, Corporal Demba Bah, on the same day.”

This unreasonable omission proves that the reporter chose to ignore the facts and report one side of the story unfavorably. After Killa Ace made a video exposing Police brutality he experienced during his time in custody the Police also released a statement to refute his claims which Fatu Network also published. This statement was a reaction to the exposure of the inadequate treatment of citizens yet to stand trial according to Killa Ace who made numerous revelations after he spent some hours in the cell. To date, I’m not aware if Team Gom Sa Bopa’s press releases have been published to give a balanced perspective.

Distraction from Key National Dialogue

In Killa Ace’s video highlighting the gross human right violations witnessed while in Police custody, he claims some of the suspects have been held for over a week with no communication with their families. The rapper who famously took on Dictator Jammeh with Ku Boka Chi Geta Gi will return to court on November 22nd after his case was adjourned and his charges amended and to include willful damage of a property.

However, if allegations that suspects are being forced to do hard labour in the farm and that a customary welcome slap is reserved for newcomers by the infamous Gorgi Mboob then something needs to be done to address this gross failure of the security apparatus. It was very unfortunate to learn from Freedom Newspaper that this same Gorgi Mboob “was indited by the Lartey Commission for taking part in the gunning down of Gambia’s unarmed student protesters back in April of 2000.”

If we are to avoid another tragedy these allegations need to be taken seriously. It’s alleged that even concerned family members of suspects are not spared from Gorgi Mboob’s arrogance when they come searching for their loved ones at the Police station. If allegations of suspects being held for over 72 hours are true the Interior Ministry needs to launch an independent investigation into these claims including those of Police brutality, forced hard labor and poor treatment of suspects.

To usher in the reforms we all yearn for in the Police Force, the media needs to play its role and the Security apparatus need to demonstrate a willingness to change their mode of operation under the 23 years of Dictatorship. The media needs to play a key role to encourage positive national dialogue by focussing on the issues which matter. In short, the reporting so far has placed more focus on Killa Ace instead of the serious claims of police brutality meted out on suspects while in Police custody.

While I was in custody, what I saw there I never expected that to still happen in The New Gambia [injustices]that we fought against. ~ Killa Ace

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