Honolulu police officers plead guilty in urinal licking case

FILE (9/25/2019) Former police officer Reginald Ramones reached a deal to plead guilty to a lesser charge that he knew fellow officer John Rabago committed a civil rights violation but didn't inform authorities about it. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher,
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HONOLULU (WTHR) - A Honolulu police officer has pleaded guilty to depriving a homeless man of his civil rights by forcing him to lick a public urinal.

John Rabago says he told the man he wouldn't be arrested if he licked the urinal.

Rabago and another officer had responded to a nuisance complaint when they found the man in a stall in a public bathroom.

The other officer, Reginald Ramones, pleaded guilty previously to a lesser charge that he knew Rabago committed a civil rights violation but didn't inform authorities about it.

Rabago wanted to accept responsibility for the incident, his attorney, Megan Kau, told The Associated Press. He has been on restricted duty.

Ramones left the department in August.

Fearing arrest, the homeless man reluctantly obeyed Rabago’s orders, according to Ramones’ plea agreement.

Rabago had previously threatened another man he was questioning, saying he wouldn't be arrested if he stuck his head in a toilet, the document said.

Ramones said in court that Rabago persuaded him not to tell authorities what happened in the public bathroom and to delete their text messages about it. Rabago told him to say he was joking when he talked about making the man lick the urinal, Ramones said.

Myles Breiner, an attorney representing the homeless man identified in court documents as S.I., said he’s glad to hear Rabago is taking responsibility.

“The question is, are they going to get special treatment,” Breiner said. “My concern is that law enforcement tends to receive much lighter sentences than non-law enforcement.”

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