Fight over land results in arrest of 5 people from Faleniu
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A land dispute between families in Faleniu ended when police officers arrested five people and held them at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) on Tuesday afternoon, to prevent any violence within the family.
All five made their initial appearances in District Court yesterday morning. Judge Fiti Sunia later released them on their own recognizance, subject to certain conditions.
They have to keep the peace within their family, make all of their court appearances, and they are not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victims.
Sunia emphasized to all five defendants the importance of keeping the peace at all times in their family circle, and each of them is cautioned not to cause any more trouble.
The defendants are: Kuinise Moea’i, Fuefuealii Taalili, Romas Napoleone, Lavina Fruean, and Malologa Heather.
Each defendant is being charged with third degree assault and public peace disturbance.
Assistant Public Defender Anna Wells is representing all five defendants while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.
The government claims that on Oct. 23, 2018 at 12:36p.m, the Tafuna Substation received a phone call from a male named Kuinise Moea’i (one of the five defendants), regarding a public peace disturbance at the Moeai’s residence in Faleniu.
Several police officers responded to the call and were able to meet up with Moea’i at the scene. Officers were able to interview Moea’i, and other family members who were involved in the alleged incident.
The investigation discloses that Moea’i approached Lavina Fruean to ask that she stop the construction of her new home on the family land, whereas Fruean argued that her lawyer said she doesn’t need to stop until she receives a court order to do so.
Moea’i walked to his vehicle and returned with some documents in hand. He allegedly told Fruean that she's the reason for all the commotion.
Moea’i was upset and that's when he allegedly grabbed Fruean by her chin while talking to her.
Malologa Heather witnessed what Moea'i did and she allegedly punched Moea’i in the face.
The matter continued to escalate, when Romas Napoleone saw Heather punching Moea’i. Napoleone allegedly came up and back-handed Fruean and hit her on the head.
Fruean fought back and she and Napoleone scuffled, with both women ending up on the ground.
Napoleone’s mother, Fuefuealii Taalili got involved and scratched Fruean’s face, leaving scratch marks on Fruean’s face, mostly on the right side.
But Taalili told police that she did not scratch Fruean’s face; instead, she was trying to hold Fruean’s hair in an effort to break up the fight between Fruean and Napoleone.
The squabble resulted in people in the neighborhood coming out to see what was going on.
What police have discovered so far is this: Fruean is in the process of building her new house; however, Moea’i and Taalili — on behalf of the Moea’i family — are trying to stop the construction of the structure.