Stimulus check money sparking domestic violence in some families
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two men arrested and charged for disturbing the peace inside their homes by assaulting their wives and making unreasonable noises told investigators that the alcohol they consumed was purchased with money from their stimulus checks.
The first case occurred in Tafuna while the other case was in Malaeimi.
The two men in their early 50s made their initial appearance in District Court this week where they were later released on their own recognizance under several conditions.
Among the conditions is the pair were ordered not to consume any more alcohol, keep the peace at their homes and find another place to stay while their cases are still pending in court. They are also not to make any direct or indirect contact with their wives and if they see them in public, they must walk away from them peacefully.
Both men are charged with 3rd degree assault and public peace disturbance; both misdemeanors.
The cases against the two men are now transferred to the FDA court (Family, Drugs & Alcohol) and their next court appearance is July 7th.
CASE IN TAFUNA
On May 29, 2020 around 10:21p.m, a woman contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) requesting police assistance after she was allegedly assaulted by her husband. Several police officers responded and discovered a woman sitting at a bus stop crying. The woman was later identified as the victim.
The victim told investigators that her husband assaulted her after she approached him regarding the balance of the stimulus check he went to cash at the bank.
According to the victim, her husband (defendant) went to cash their stimulus check totaling of $3,900. Before her husband went to the bank, they both agreed on how they would spend the money. Upon returning home, her husband gave their daughter $3,700 cash to give to her, and her husband then left the house around 2p.m. He returned around 10p.m very intoxicated.
When she approached her husband about the money, he told her that he used $200 to party with his friend. A verbal argument escalated between the couple until it reached a point where the husband was unable to control his anger and assaulted his wife by pulling her hair and slapping her in the face. The defendant then went inside the room and started damaging items inside the living room by throwing clothes outside of the house and demanding his wife give him his portion of the stimulus check.
As the defendant was destroying things inside the house, the victim stood up and ran outside of the house. She immediately called police for assistance.
After speaking with the victim, investigators went to the back of the house and discovered the defendant sitting on a big rock drinking a large bottle of beer. When asked if he had assaulted his wife, the defendant immediately started crying and knelt on the ground asking investigators to forgive him.
Investigators apprehended the defendant and transported him to the TPS for further investigation. When asked about the incident, he admitted that he assaulted his wife out of anger after his wife questioned him about the $200 from their stimulus check. According to the defendant, he is the head of the family and his wife shouldn’t question him on how he spends their money, because the money belongs to both of them.
CASE IN MALAEIMI
On May 20th around 9p.m, the Central Police Station in Fagatogo received a phone call from a female saying that her uncle was walking around the house with a machete in his hand and their family needed police assistance. The caller further told police that her uncle had just finished assaulting his wife.
Several police officers responded to the call and observed a man walking on the side of the road with a machete in his hand. Police surrounded the man and instructed him to put down the machete. The man complied before surrendering to police.
Officers then went to the house and met up with a young female who was later identified as the person who had called police. She told police that her uncle was very intoxicated and assaulted his wife over their stimulus check. She further stated to police that her uncle (defendant) was very upset when his wife told him not to waste their money from the stimulus check on alcohol.
Police questioned the victim and she echoed the statement. The victim told police that her husband asked her for $150 from their stimulus check to buy parts for their vehicle. However, she found out later that day that only $60 went to the vehicle’s part while her husband (defendant) used the rest of the money she gave him to buy alcohol and cigarettes for him and his friends.
Her husband was very upset when she approached him about the money. He yelled profanities at her before he pushed her to the ground and kicked her in her back.
When asked about the alleged incident, the defendant immediately broke down into tears and admitted to assaulting his wife. He told police that he used part of the money to buy beer for himself and his mechanic.