Two Honolulu Police Department officers were arrested today by federal authorities after being indicted with two counts of civil rights violations for allegedly forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal.
HPD officers John Rabago and Reginald Ramones have been charged with one count of conspiring to deprive a person of his civil rights and another count of acting under color of law to deprive the same individual of his civil rights, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
On Jan. 28, 2018, according to the indictment, HPD officers John Rabago and Reginald Ramones deprived the man of his constitutional right to be free from an unreasonable seizure by a law enforcement officer.
According to initial reports after the incident, four HPD officers were being investigated for forcing a man to place his mouth on a urinal at a public restroom on a Sunday afternoon in the Keeaumoku area.
The officers had been responding to a trespass complaint reported to 911 when they came into contact with the victim. One officer later reported the alleged misconduct, leading to an internal HPD investigation.
A week later, HPD Chief Susan Ballard referred the case to the FBI and said, “Our officers are sworn to uphold the right of all persons, and I expect every officer to treat every member of the public fairly and with respect. Personally, I am appalled at the behavior, if it is true, and appropriate action will be taken.”
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum term of 10 years imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $250,000, according to federal authorities, while the deprivation of rights charge carries a maximum term of one-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $100,000.
The FBI’s Honolulu Division is investigating the case, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Honolulu. Attorney Timothy Visser of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Hawaii Thomas Brady are prosecuting the case, officials said.