3 Jun 2014

Assault on American Samoa mentally ill youth probed

8:03 am on 3 June 2014

The Attorney General's Office in American Samoa is to conduct a probe into an alleged assault by police officers on a mentally ill teenager.

The Acting Commissioner of Public Safety Save Liuato Tuitele has requested an independent inquiry after reviewing a police report on the matter.

Family members say John-Demas "JayDee" Te'o Frost, who suffers from schizoaffective disorder, was assaulted by five police officers last month.

The alleged assault occurred when the five officers were out on physical training and met up with the 17 year old and his two sisters in the early hours of the morning in Fagatogo.

The family allege the officers assaulted the youth after he had an episode of the illness thinking he was being disrespectful.

His sisters told the officers their brother is mentally ill but the family says that did not stop the assault.

Save said he decided to seek an independent inquiry instead of an internal investigation by the DPS Office of Internal Affairs in order to preserve the integrity of the department and those allegedly involved.

The acting police commissioner said the officers targeted by the allegations will be assigned to non-police duties pending the outcome of the inquiry.