38 year old Constable Kali Fungavaka was farewelled at a service held for him in Otara today, attended by over 200 members of the police including two deputy commissioners.
The two police officers (Salesi Maile and Fatai Faletau) who were initially charged with assaulting Mr Funagavaka after his arrest have had their charge upgraded from assault to manslaughter.
The third person who allegedly assaulted Fungavaka further in the cells Semisi Kalisitane Manu has had his charge reduced from the capital offence of murder to manslaughter as well.
All three men remain in custody with the officers also being suspended without pay. They will appear before the magistrate on Monday in Nuku’alofa where they will face further charges of causing grievous bodily harm.
Fungavaka’s colleagues formed a guard of honour outside the church in Otara where his service was held today.
About 1000 people turned out for Fungavaka’s final farewell. His brother-in-law Constable Saul Peau said “He was a hero. Everyone loved him in the police.”
After the service, a massive crowd gathered outside the church – many wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Fungavaka’s face – as a lone police piper played and the coffin was loaded into the hearse.
Fungavaka is survived by his wife and four children.