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Samoan man found guilty of assaulting police officer after alleging police mistreatment

A Samoan man who alleged mistreatment by police and excessive force after an incident in March last year has been found guilty of assaulting a police officer.

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Musician Feleti Key, who suffers very severe obstructive sleep apnoea, had originally been charged with dangerous driving, drink driving and assaulting a police officer after a social event in March last year.

Musician Feleti Key suffers from very severe obstructive sleep apnoea and had been playing in a band at an event on March 8 last year.

In an interview with 1 NEWS in June he said he then went onto a night club after the event, and had two beers before becoming tired and going to sleep for two hours in his car.

He woke up gasping for air, and said he decided to drive home "as I cannot sleep without the machine to open my airway". 

According to police, Mr Key was driving dangerously and was pulled over by a passing ambulance and the police were called.

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Mr Key said he refused to be breathalised or blood tested for alcohol, instead requesting his lawyer.

He was then put in handcuffs where according to police he kicked an officer – but Mr Key said he was struggling to get air and panicked.

Mr Key had originally been charged with dangerous driving, drink driving and assaulting a police officer after the incident last year, but 1 NEWS uncovered discrepancies in police records and the two driving charges were dropped.

Police have launched an internal investigation into the incident.