Following the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on Monday afternoon, an online petition was launched demanding Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar to step down.
“As a nation, we do not feel safe in a country where the Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar does not speak up, does not take any form of respectful action in such desperate times,” the petition states. The user behind the change.org petition, who goes by the alias Kenniesa tal-Kabinett, went on to say that the only other headline Commissioner Cutajar has made this year was “eating rabbit with his mates while Egrant unfolded before our eyes”.
At the time of writing, the petition for him to step down had over 2,022 signatures, but it wasn’t the only petition doing the rounds.
Lawrence Cutajar, who was appointed acting police commissioner back in April 2016, was granted the position of a permanent basis in August that same year. Reacting to the appointment, PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami had said Cutajar’s only qualification was “being friends with Joseph Muscat”.
48 hours after Monday’s tragedy unfolded, Commissioner Cutajar has yet to issue a press release commenting on the situation or giving any further information.
Photo by John Pisani – MHAS
Another petition addressed to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was launched demanding the firing of Ramon Mifsud, a police sergeant who was appointed to investigate Caruana Galizia’s assassination but posted a rather worrying Facebook status. “Everyone gets what they deserve, cow dung!!!!!!!” Mifsud posted. “Feeling happy :)” Kenneth Vella Gregory, also part of the Malta Police Force, cheered the status on with a “Like” of his own.
Sergeant Mifsud, who reportedly also has a history of aggression reports and drinking, was suspended less than 24 hours after the post appeared on Facebook, but many people feel this is not enough. “A suspension is not enough,” one user said. “He needs to be fired and not allowed to ever come close to a uniform”.
“Action must be taken: our country deserves better,” said Jason Attard, the person who started the change.org petition. At the time of writing, Attard’s petition had 2,885 signees, with that number increasing every couple of seconds.
Yet another petition, also published by Kenniesa tal-Kabinett and petitioning Minister of Home Affairs and Security Dr. Michael Farrugia, is currently sitting at 8,000.
“There is no place for people like this in the world, let alone a place and responsibility to be protecting the Maltese people,” the petition states. “Both are mentally unable to protect any Maltese citizen, let alone those who needed more protection than others. We have witnessed corruption in many forms, but now it is time to make our voices heard”. The petition also calls for the firing of fellow Malta Police Force officer Kenneth Vella Gregory.
Many of the people who signed the three petitions expressed their disgust and rage at the Police Force.
“The police commissioner has failed to investigate allegations of graft and crime made by Daphne,” one signee said. “I do not trust he can handle this case impartially without fear or favour. He needs to resign, by today”.
“This guy is corrupt for letting corruption go on unchecked in Malta,” another stated. “He is one of the crooks that are everywhere now”.
“I am signing because I have absolutely no trust in the Police Force,” another said. “These are the people who should stick up for us, not the contrary”.