Eti Sapolu has spoken out to set the record straight in relation to an incident where he and his 3-year-old daughter were detained.
Sapolu and his daughter, Malu were held in the Police interview room for almost three hours. He went with his daughter to the Police station inquiring about a matter he was asked to give evidence.
However, when he arrived he was told he would be held at the station.
But the Assistant Police Commissioner, Su’a Muliaga Tiumalu denied these claims.
Su’a said no such thing happened to Eti and his daughter.
“They were not arrested and they were not placed in a cell,” Su’a assured. “The man came with his daughter and after he was interviewed they left the Police station.
“He was interviewed with regards to a family matter where his sister filed a complaint that he had damaged her garden.”
But Sapolu said this was far from the truth.
“You see, I take my daughter everywhere I go,” said Eti.
“Her mother is no longer with us so I take care of her. When the Police called me to come in, I didn’t think they were going to hold me there. I went there with my other sister for questioning regarding a complaint made by our other sister.
“But after they interviewed my sister, they asked me questions and it was Taylor Mulitalo who did the interview.
“The charges were that I destroyed the garden which belongs to my other sister.
“So I made a statement and after I explained to them what had happened, they told me then that I have been charged so they have to keep me there for 24 hours.”
Sapolu said he pleaded with the Police to let him go so he can buy food for his daughter. But they didn’t listen.
“I asked them if they will keep me there with my daughter and Taylor said yes. They said I needed to have a lawyer or a registrar.”
At that point, Sapolu said he didn’t know what else to do.
“The thing is, I was detained, I couldn’t leave and I couldn’t do anything. They told me they have to keep me there with my daughter for 24 hours.
“I knew what they were doing was wrong because I was with my daughter. But they still held me there. After three hours, I went up to them and asked them again if they can let me go and buy food for my daughter.”
Sapolu said what happened to him that day has really affected his daughter.
“The first time we were locked up in the room, she came and hid behind me because she was scared of the policemen. She then fell asleep because we were there for more than three hours.
“After waiting, a different police-officer came up to me and said that it wasn’t right to hold me there with my daughter.
“He then said that it’s okay for me to go as I have already made a statement and that I can go.
“My daughter suffered after these two incidents I was involved in with the police. The first one was when they chased me up here to Apaula Heights without a search warrant, and then the time when they held us both in the cells.
“The following day, she kept talking about policemen and sometimes when she’s sleeping she would wake up crying saying “police.”
“The thing is, she is only close to me. And that’s why I can’t leave her alone. And with all these things happening, she is always asking about the policemen nowadays.”
The Minister of Police, who is also the Prime Minister, was asked for a comment regarding this matter and Tuilaepa said that such behaviors are just “tricks.”
“Samoan customs and traditions is one of the things that Samoa is known for,” he said.
“If you go and look for a relative to look after your son or daughter, you will find one. You can either look for someone from your wife’s family or your family as well.
“You can still find someone to look after you child.
“But nowadays, we have a different kind of intelligence. We have what you call trickery intelligence.
“So I can say that that case is an example of trickery intelligence right there.”