2 Nov 2005

Jury selection underway for American Samoan police officer's trial

12:25 pm on 2 November 2005

Jury selection began this morning at the High Court of American Samoa for the trial of a police officer accused of assaulting two men last Christmas at the central police station.

Police lieutenant Tulele Laolagi, a 17-year police veteran, is facing first degree and third degree assault charges.

The first-degree assault charge stems from when Laolagi allegedly struck 18-year-old Potasi Taise, who was at the time handcuffed and being questioned at the police station

The third-degree assault charge stems from when the defendant allegedly struck the other victim, Lafaele Petelo, while he too was handcuffed.

Laolagi is one of the three officers named in a multi million dollar civil lawsuit alleging police brutality filed in April by Taise, through his attorney.