A former police officer from Honolulu has been given a four-year prison sentence after forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal.
John Rabago, was sentenced on July 15, 2020, after he pleaded guilty to civil rights violations following the January 2018 incident.
44-year-old John Rabago and Reginald Ramones, a former police officer, encountered the man while responding to a nuisance complaint.
He had been taking shelter in the public restroom when Rabago told him: “If you lick the urinal you won’t get arrested.”
Rabago threatened to beat the man and also told him he would stuff his face down a toilet if he did not lick the urinal.
He then proceeded to grab the shoulder of the man, held him down and stepping on his legs to keep him on his knees.
He was then forced to lick the urinal.
US District Judge Leslie Kobayashi said that Rabago previously laughed about the incident and denied it.
However, he has now shown remorse.
The former police officer has apologized to the victim and his family.
Two years ago I made a decision I’m not proud of. My actions changed the course of life for all of us.
Tom Brady, an Assistant US Attorney, released a statement about the incident, where he said:
To be homeless, not knowing where your next meal is going to be, to be forced to lick … a dirty urinal by a uniformed police officer. There’s only one word that comes to mind: hopelessness.
Megan Kau, the defense attorney of Rabago, said that she and her client were expecting a sentence of around 3 years.
She also said that Judge Kobayashi was ‘taking the national environment and making him an example’.
Earlier this year, the homeless man filed the lawsuit against the Honolulu Police Department and the city.
The man is reportedly pleased that the court punished the officer appropriately.
Reginald Ramones, the other police officer, is no longer with the Honolulu Police Department.
His sentencing has been scheduled for next week.