20 Aug 2010

Forgiveness ceremony performed for slain American Samoa police officer

5:59 pm on 20 August 2010

Family members of the man charged with shooting dead a police officer outside American Samoa's High Court last month have performed a traditional forgiveness ceremony today to his wife and family in Pago Pago.

High Chief Pulu Ae Ae Junior and the defendant's mother knelt in front of Detective Liusila Brown's home with their heads covered in fine mats.

Detective Brown's widow, Leleiituma Brown, removed the mats as a sign of acceptance of the ifoga, saying the ceremony was very emotional.

"I had to let everything out. It was really hard for me because this was my first time experiencing these sort of stuff. But I just want to thank the family that came and just to let them know that I already forgave them a long time before, you know, the day it happened."

Leleiituma Brown says her husband's parents and family who have arrived from Samoa for the funeral service tomorrow couldn't attend but supported the ifoga.

American Samoa 's governor Togiola Tulafono has ordered that all flags be flown at half-mast tomorrow.