Alleged Police brutality
Two brothers from the village of Vaitoloa had a rather sad weekend.
One they are likely to remember for the way they were treated – or rather mistreated - by Police officers on Saturday when they were taken to the Police station.
The eldest of the two boys, Masiano Tupua, 21, said they were treated like “animals.” It was “harsh” and “inappropriate.”
So what led to it?
“We had a drink up at home with my cousins. We started to make a lot of noise so we moved to the back where the volleyball field is,” Masiano said.
“We continued drinking there and because we were too loud, someone called the Police. When the police arrived, they asked me to give them the bottle we were drinking and asked us to get inside the car.
“So we were all walking towards the car, when my younger brother asked the police officer if he can just let go of his hands so he can give his phone and Bluetooth speaker to his wife. But the police officer wouldn’t let go of his hands.
“I was standing there looking at my younger brother trying to free his hands.
“But the police officer punched my younger brother because he wouldn’t stand still. So I jumped in and tried to stop him from what he was doing to my younger brother, but he turned around and punched me.
“I held onto him because he was trying to punch me again, but then he pushed me down and he strangled me. He strangled me so hard and I felt like I was going to die. So I punched him to defend myself.”
Masiano said there were three officers who arrived in a pick-up truck.
“The other boys we were drinking with left the scene so it was just me and my younger brother. So I sat at the front with the three police officers but my younger brother was hand-cuffed at the back of the truck.
“And as soon as they left the house and our place, they (police) started punching me and beating me up inside the car.
“One of them held my hands and the other was punching me. I tried my best to cover my face and defend myself, but there were two of them and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t do anything so I was just sitting inside while they were beating me up, then I blacked out. I didn’t know what happened after that.”
Masiano said he remembered waking inside a Police cell without a shirt.
“When I woke up, the Senior Police Officer questioned me and asked me if I knew who beat me up, and I said yes.
“Because I remembered their faces but not their names. And one of them was sitting right next to the senior police officer. So I pointed my finger at him and he denied what I was saying.
“He said they didn’t lay a hand on me. I kept saying that it was them, but they said that it was my older brother who came and beat me up.
“Then the senior police officer told me off for punching the police officer. I looked at him and he said something really bad to me.
“He told me never to look at him again otherwise he will come and ‘cut my head off with a machete.’ I didn’t want to say anything after that because I was scared that they might give me a hiding again. So we were locked inside the cell until the register came the next day.”
Eteuati Tupua, 18, is Maisiano’s younger brother. He was with Maisiano and they were both taken in by the police.
Eteuati said he was shocked by the treatment.
“They were carrying him inside because he was unconscious,” Eteuati said. “When I went inside the cell, I saw that my older brother was lying inside the cell and his shirt was covered with blood from his ears and eye. One of them kicked him when he was inside the cell.”
The two boys were both released on Sunday afternoon.
Today, the 21-year-old Masiano is still trying to get over the experience.
“I know the way they treated us was inappropriate and unfair,” Maisiano told the Samoa Observer.
“If they came and asked us to go with them nicely without being violent, nothing would’ve happened. They treated us like animals and the language they used wasn’t appropriate as well.
“This has affected me so badly, both physically and mentally. I have been charged for punching the police officer but what I did was only to defend myself.
“What I did to him is nothing compared to what he did to me.”
Attempts to get a comment from the Police were unsuccessful.