24 Mar 2009

American Samoa officer gets jail time

12:08 pm on 24 March 2009

A police officer in American Samoan has been sentenced to a year in jail for assaulting a man with a torch.

He was convicted by a jury for third degree assault.

The Chief Justice, Michael Kruse, said the policeman had every intention of hurting the victim who has suffered permanent scaring on his face

The Assistant Attorney General, Lisa Teesch-McGuire said John Tialavea and other officers who brutalize citizens think that they can do that and get away with it.

She said its difficult to do her job as a prosecutor when officers who work on cases have bad credibility.

In a separate case, Police Detective Tiali'i Mikey Lutu has begun serving a 45 day jail sentence for roughing up a shop employee.

Lutu pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor charges of property damage, third degree assault and false imprisonment.

The charges stem from an incident last year in which he pinned an employee behind a store counter after he was told he was not allowed to see the store owner.

Tialavea was initially charged with first degree assault and third degree assault for striking a man with a flash light.