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Passenger in back of pick up allegedly punches a police office — several times

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A passenger in a vehicle pulled over by police for a traffic violation was arrested and charged with violating local drug laws. During the arrest, the passenger, Samuelu Tipa, resisted arrest — allegedly punching a police officer several times.

Tipa made his initial appearance in District Court last week.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of resisting arrest, both felonies.

Bail is set at $10,000.


On Mar. 11, about 6.00pm, several police officers conducted a traffic stop when they observed a pickup truck exiting from Aute with a person in the truck bed sitting on the top rail. Samuelu Tipa was later identified as the defendant in this matter.

Officers pulled the vehicle over in a parking lot in Futiga near the church, and approached the driver to explain the reason for the stop. They asked the driver if he knew the person in the back of the vehicle, but the driver responded that the person was just hitching a ride.

As the officers were trying to issue a citation, the suspect hopped off of the vehicle and started making suspicious movements by patting the side of his waistline. Officers asked if there were any dangerous weapons on him and asked to conduct a pat-down.

Instead, Tipa fled from the traffic stop on foot. Officers gave chase and one of the officers caught and tackled Tipa to the ground. While the officer was trying to place the cuffs on him, Tipa punched him with a closed fist.

The officer punched Tipa back in self-defense, but Tipa kept resisting and punching the officer multiple times, while he was on the ground, with a green flashlight and a closed fist.

Tipa kept getting back up trying to flee but failed as police officers scuffled with him, around on the public highway.  A pedestrian who witnessed the takedown ran over to assist the officers who were then able to pin down and place the cuffs on Tipa.

Before Tipa was placed in the police unit, officers were finally able to conduct a pat-down for their safety. During the pat-down, officers seized what appeared to be drug paraphernalia — a clear pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine containing crystallized substance inside.

The Vice & Narcotics Division was notified regarding the drugs found on Tipa, prior to his being transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS).

The officer who tackled Tipa had a laceration on top of his eye, on the left side of his facial area. Tipa also sustained minor injuries, and both Tipa and the officer were treated by EMS personnel.

Investigators Mirandized the suspect after which he refused to make a statement and also threatened the officers by saying, “Faakalikali gei oukou pe a ou joe sau i fafo mai le Falepuipui.”

A detective of the Vice & Narcotics Division tested the crystallized substance using the Reagent Test Kit and it tested positive for methamphetamine.