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Assault charge leads to man’s arrest — neither man will say why they were fighting

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 46-year-old man who is accused of assaulting another man was arrested last week.

Faletau Valaau made his initial appearance in District Court last week where he entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him. He is charged with 3rd degree assault, 2nd degree property damage, and public peace disturbance.

The defendant was released by the Court on his own recognizance subject to certain conditions — to remain law abiding, make all of his court appearances, and not to have direct or indirect contact with the victim.

The government claims that it was around 6:12p.m last Tuesday when a woman from Malaeimi contacted police for assistance, regarding her husband, who was being assaulted by another man. Three police officers responded to the call.

The caller, who was later identified as the victim's wife, told police that her husband was assaulted by his male friend, “Tau”, later identified as Faletau Valaau, the defendant in this matter.

The wife told police that her husband was in their vehicle parked in front of a store in Malaeimi while she was inside shopping. She said she came out and noticed her husband standing outside of their vehicle with several people surrounding him, and he was bleeding from his mouth and nose.

She said she asked her husband what happened but he refused to tell her. It was another male who was standing with her husband who told her that it was the defendant.

An eyewitness told police he did not understand how the fight escalated. All he saw was, after a brief verbal argument, the defendant allegedly threw multiple punches at the victim’s face.

The victim refused to explain to police what happened. He said he did not want to press charges against the defendant because he’s his best friend. However, the victim’s wife told police she wants her husband’s friend to be charged.

Two hours later, Valaau was arrested from his house and was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation for questioning, where he admitted to investigators that he assaulted the victim by punching him in the face and kicked him while he was on the ground.

According to Valaau, it was a “personal matter” between him and the victim. He didn’t want to elaborate more about what he meant by personal matter.