Arrest for village PPD reveals a background of assault charges
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man with an outstanding arrest warrant was taken into custody last week after police picked him up for a public peace disturbance (PPD) matter in Tafuna.
Naseri Opetaia, 40, who has a previous assault conviction from 2013. made his initial appearance in court last month.
Opetaia is charged with second-degree assault and unlawful possession of marijuana, both felonies; and two misdemeanors —PPD and third degree assault.
Bail is set at $5,000.
Cops responded to a public peace disturbance in Iliili, after a young woman contacted police for assistance, regarding an intoxicated man yelling profanities at her father.
Police arrived and spoke to the caller who told them that it was around 5:21p.m when she called her father to pick her up, along with her children, in front of an Asian Store in Iliili. A few moments later, her father showed up and parked at the front side of the store’s parking lot.
As her father was about to exit his vehicle, a black truck pulled up and scratched the back side of their vehicle. Her father exited his vehicle and walked over to speak to the driver of the truck.
As her father was approaching the driver, a man who was later identified as the defendant exited the driver’s side of the black truck, walked towards her father, and immediately punched him in the face and yelled, “It’s all your fault!”
According to the witness, her father did not throw any punches; instead, he stood up and ran back to where his vehicle was parked, while the defendant followed him. Several bystanders stopped the defendant from striking the victim again.
Immediately afterwards, the defendant jumped in his vehicle and tried to leave the scene. However, two other vehicles pulled in and blocked his vehicle, in an effort to stop him from fleeing the scene.
Cops apprehend Opetaia inside his truck, and transported him to the TPS for questioning. When asked by police, Opetaia admitted that he assaulted the victim for blocking his way to the parking lot. He said the accident was the victim’s fault. Opetaia further told cops two days prior to the incident, he parked his vehicle outside of a store in Tafuna when the victim’s vehicle hit the door of his vehicle leaving a big scratch on the side.
It was revealed during Opetaia’s interview with police that he has an outstanding arrest warrant from another assault case, where he is alleged to have assaulted a man by using a rock to strike his head.
THE OUTSTANDING WARRANT
On May 31st, 2018, a woman contacted the TPS for help, after her 39-year-old brother was assaulted by a man, who worked as a groundsman for a family next to her brother’s house in Kokoland.
When police arrived, the woman told them that her brother had arrived from Hawaii three months earlier, and on the day of the alleged incident, her brother was working outside in his yard while Opetaia and two other men were doing a clean up at a family house next door.
According to the woman’s statement, Opetaia and the two men were drinking during their clean up.
Opetaia is believed to have called out to the victim asking him to buy more beer for him as he looked like he had just come from off island. The victim gave Opetaia and his two friends three cans of beer from his refrigerator.
The woman told police that Opetaia did not appreciate the free beer from her brother, but made fun of him and told him, “You just came from off island and you can only afford to give us three cans of beer?”
The victim became angry and allegedly yelled out profane words to Opetaia and told him that he should be thankful for the free stuff he received from someone he doesn’t know. Furthermore, the victim told Opetaia that only a coward acted like that.
While the victim was standing in front of his vehicle, which was parked outside of his house, Opetaia walked over to him and hit him on the back of the head with a rock, causing the defendant to fall down. While the victim was on the ground, Opetaia allegedly kicked his back twice before leaving the scene.
After police obtained a warrant from the court to arrest Opetaia, he was nowhere to be found. The owner of the house he worked for told police he hadn’t heard from Opetaia since the alleged incident.
Video footage of the incident recorded by the nearby store’s surveillance camera was obtained by police, and it confirmed Opetaia’s involvement.
On Jan. 21, 2014, Opetaia was sentenced to 20 months detention at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF), as a condition of his 5-year probation sentence, after pleading guilty to the amended charge of second-degree assault, under a plea agreement with the government.
The government says Opetaia assaulted a man during a drinking session by stabbing him with a broken beer bottle, causing severe injuries to the victim’s neck and shoulder.