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Alleged break-in, riot, and raid at the TCF this past weekend — no comment from cops

Territorial Correctional Facility, TCF

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — There was lots of commotion at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) in Tafuna this past weekend.

Samoa News confirmed with a DPS source, that there is an ongoing investigation into a reported break-in at the TCF cafeteria. According to the source, inmates allegedly broke into the supply room and stole food items. Cops were notified and an internal raid was carried out at the facility, particularly in the areas occupied by the inmates suspected of the break-in.

“The inmates are all tense,” said a Samoa News source, who added that the usual weekend visitation was cancelled because the facility was on lock down following the break-in/ raid.

Samoa News was informed that there was also a riot at the TCF this past weekend, sparked by a ‘beef’ between two rival gangs. (A source who spoke to Samoa News said this is the main reason why the inmates were not able to carry out their planned ‘march’ to the Fono yesterday. See Samoa News Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 edition for details).

According to the source, there is a consensus amongst the prisoners — specifically the representatives of each unit — that the two gangs have to settle their differences and resolve their beef before they can collectively take a stand against what they describe as ‘inhumane treatment’ at the TCF compound.

As for the reported weekend happenings, it is alleged that an altercation between two inmates got out of hand after one of them ran back to one of the units and informed the others about it. “And that’s when all hell broke loose,” said an inmate who spoke to Samoa News over the weekend.

He claims that there was a drinking session the night before — on Friday — and he alleges that the alcohol was brought into the facility by corrections officers. When asked for comments, one cop who spoke to Samoa News neither confirmed or denied the allegation.

During the riot, rocks were thrown and inmates were armed with knives — some had machetes, according to an inmate who spoke to Samoa News. He said one cop did get punched by an inmate during the melee.

The response unit included over two dozen police officers and fire trucks.

Efforts by Samoa News to obtain comments from TCF officials yesterday were unsuccessful as of press time.