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DPS probe: Mother claims son was hit with police car

A mother is furious with several police officers from the Department of Public Safety, who she claims were involved in an accident where a police vehicle struck her 22-year-old son, yet a month later there was still no investigation into the alleged incident.


Acting Commissioner of Public Safety Leiseau Vaito’elau Laumoli confirmed that a Criminal and Internal Investigation is being carried out against the four police officers allegedly involved in the matter.


“The Criminal investigation is conducted by the CID headed by Commander Lavata’i Taase Sagapolutele while Internal Affairs is doing the internal investigation headed by Captain Pierre Clemens," he told Samoa News.


The mother, who spoke to Samoa News on condition of anonymity, said she’s scared for the safety of her family and does not wish to further state anything on the matter.


However, family members informed Samoa News yesterday that the incident occurred on March 29, 2013, where the 22-year-old boy was in a drinking session with another male and was surprised when police officers pulled up. The two boys took off on foot, and it’s alleged three police officers ran after the boys, and the fourth police officer, who was operating the vehicle, also followed the chase in the police car. The family member alleges the police vehicle struck the young man, and the tire of the vehicle ran over the his left leg, injuring him.


According to the family member, the police then took the young man to the Tafuna Substation where he was later transported to LBJ hospital. His mother was contacted that her son was taken to the hospital that evening. It’s alleged the police did not return to the hospital.


The family member told Samoa News the young man was admitted to the hospital for four days due to his injuries, which required seven stitches on one foot.


The family member also told Samoa News the mother filed a complaint against the police officers involved in this matter with the Tafuna West Substation, however after a month, nothing was done. When she followed up on the issue with the West Substation, she was surprised to learn that nothing had been done.


Samoa News contacted Commander Fo’ifua Fo’ifua on several occasions, but he was not in the office, said police officers who answered the call.


The family member said the mother was then contacted by the Traffic Division, who conducted a traffic accident investigation.


Muagututi’a Captain John Cendrowski confirmed to Samoa News this matter was investigated by Traffic Officers, however during the course of the investigation, it appeared the matter was not a traffic accident, so it was then referred to the Criminal Investigation Division.


The CID Commander declined to comment on the matter, noting that the investigation is continuing. However Samoa News was able to speak with one of the police officers involved in the matter, who claims the young man’s foot was injured during the chase and he had not been struck by a police vehicle.


Samoa News spoke to two witnesses who claimed to be at the scene, who stated that the police car ran over the young man's leg, which caused injury to his foot.