On December 16 Honolulu Police Officer John Rabago admitted that he instructed a homeless man to lick a public urinal if he wanted to avoid being arrested. The homeless man has been identified as 37-year-old Samual Ingall.
Rabago originally lied and denied the accusations, but admitted Monday in court that he told Ingall that he would not be arrested if he licked the urinal. Ingall complied stating that he would do anything to stay out of jail.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi said Rabago’s threat wasn’t a mistake or miscommunication. Kobayashi stated in court:
“You knowingly and willfully forced Ingall to lick the urinal.”
KTAR News reports that on the day of the incident officers were responding to a nuisance complaint when they found Ingall in a public restroom. Rabago and Officer Reginald Ramones were in the bathroom with Ingall when Rabago repeatedly instructed Ingall to lick the urinal, then told Ramones to close the door so that a camera would not catch what happened next.
Once defendant Ramones closed the bathroom door, co-defendant Rabago again instructed Ingall to lick the urinal. The victim then reluctantly knelt down before the urinal and licked the urinal. Co-defendant Rabago then allowed Ingall to gather his possessions and leave the bathroom.
Rabago followed Ingall out of the bathroom, and laughed as he told officers outside about what had just happened.
Rabago said “the incident was ‘just like what happened at Cartwright Field'” when he had told a “man that he would avoid arrest only if he stuck his head in a toilet,” according to court documents.
Later, Rabago and Ramones learned that the department and the FBI were investigating what had happened. Rabago told Ramones to delete text messages about the incident and tell investigators that he was joking when he told Ingall to lick the urinal.
Ramones was also charged with conspiring to deprive Ingall of his civil rights, but pleaded guilty to lesser charges after agreeing to cooperate with investigators.
Rabago has been on restrictive duty, and is expected to be fired. He could be sentenced to 30 months in prison.