Still no charges against police

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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The National Prosecution Office has not filed any charges in relation to a matter concerning a member of the public who was arrested at gunpoint by a contingent of armed police officers. 

Suitupe Misa who was arrested by police at the Fugalei market last year has sued the Ministry of Police for $1million.

The father had questioned why the criminal proceeding into his matter has not been pursued. 

In an email to the Samoa Observer, Director of N.P.O, Mauga Precious Chang said “our office has not filed any charges in relation to Suitupe’s case.”

Mauga did not elaborate.

Last week during an interview, Mr. Misa said the Police officers should have been charged by now.

“It’s like walking on eggshells,” he said about the impact of the incident. “I have to watch my every move. I get paranoid all the time. I’m always worried that the Police might plant or plot something against me…since that day (I was arrested) I don’t trust anyone. 

“I feel like I don’t have the freedom to move around freely without being followed (by authority).”

The father said the incident has left him distress, affected him mentally and had felt the stereotypes and pressure. 

He later lodged a complaint against the Police which was investigated by the Ombudsman’s Office. 

The findings of the investigation raised serious questions about the actions of the Police and the Commissioner.

 “The Commissioner of Police failed to meet basic investigation principles and placed undue consideration on second hand evidence, leading directly to the wrongful and unlawful arrest of Suitupe,” according to the findings. 

“The Commissioner’s decision to arm and allow the use of firearms by his officers contravened the Use of Force policy, was irresponsible, and could negatively impact the overall safety and security within Samoa.

“The Commissioner failed to take appropriate steps to identify the actions of his officers as being part of a police operation, leading to widespread distress and in one case serious health issues.”

According to the Ombudsman, the findings clearly demonstrate a series of errors of judgment and unlawful actions that are nowhere near what we should be able to expect from our Police force. 

© Samoa Observer 2016

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