Police investigate perpetrators, warn against sharing violent content

By Adel Fruean 11 August 2020, 5:44PM

The Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, has urged members of the public, not to share abhorrent videos and content after a video surfaced last week showing the graphic assault of a young man. 

Speaking on the weekend about the video went viral on social media but Commissioner Fuiava warned "there may be legal consequences” to sharing disturbing material. 

The online video, which was uploaded to Facebook, showed a group of men huddled over a young man whose feet and hands were tied with a green rope. According to the Police and Prisons Commissioner, the victim of the viral video has filed a complaint to the Police.

However, as of Friday, Police have not made any arrests regarding an assault recorded in a viral video.

“As of right now, no one has been arrested but we do know the identity of those involved in that video where that young man was tied and beaten and it seems that it occurred here at the [Savalalo] fish market,” Fuiavaili’ili said.

He added that there may be legal consequences concerning those sharing videos similar to that incident.

“But we’re trying to locate them and put our case together before we can do any arrests and have a thorough investigation,” the Commissioner said. 

“Locking up someone is very easy but proving your case is another thing and we’re trying to be very legal with how we do things.

“I have advised Police not to be quick to arrest people, make sure there is enough evidence.”

The Police Commissioner also cautioned the public not to share any videos similar to the viral video footage on social media.

 “It’s not right, you can look at it in any way you like but it’s not good either.

“You have to think, if it was your brother or your son, you do not want to embarrass him like that.”

He added that Police have also identified eyewitnesses and suspects.

“We discourage it [sharing similar videos involving assault cases], which led to Police looking into the matter and where it originated from so we can contact that person not only to stop it but also it was too late, so many people have shared it.

“That person was there at the time of the incident, whether it is an eye witness or another suspect. 

“Instead of sharing videos similar to the one that went viral, those types of videos should be given to Police.”

Fuiavaili’ili added it appears that the person recording the video was involved or could have done something to stop it.

“But all he or she did was just stand there and video the scene and allowed that behaviour to continue.

“You can always call the Police if you feel that you will get hurt if you try and intervene. It’s not good to post and share these types of videos because it does not do any good to society or the victim.

“And also it ruins Samoa’s reputation; we don’t need that kind of negativity. We are trying to promote Samoa as a tourist destination, as a safe and happy place.”

He said sharing these types of violent videos will paint a bad image of Samoa making it appear to be a violent place but it’s not.

“Our statistics have shown that we have only had one murder incident this year and that is the recent case at Fiaga.”

In the viral video a young man calls out "please uncle" several times in the video while a voice outside the camera view suggests “kill him”. Another in the background suggested that his mouth is also tied with a rope in order to keep him quiet.

The discussions in the video purportedly centres around allegations that the assault victim was allegedly involved in stealing. 

And when the video footage showed the victim sitting up, his face could be seen covered in blood and swollen.

"I did nothing, please my brother Va'a, please brother," the assault victim said as he continued to cry.

Towards the end of the video, an unidentified man suggested that they drag the assault victim behind a moving car. 

The ropes on his feet were eventually loosened and he was given the chance to stand up, before he was struck again and called a "thief" and "liar".

By Adel Fruean 11 August 2020, 5:44PM

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