/  07.16.2020

On Wednesday (July 15), a former Honolulu officer was sentenced to four years in prison for making a homeless man lick a urinal, according to ABC News.

As John Rabago forced the man to take part in the criminal act, he also told him to imagine someone doing that to his two daughters. “You took from him his only possession — his dignity as a human being,” said US District Judge Leslie Kobayashi.

Back in 2018, Rabago and officer Reginald Ramones responded to a nuisance complaint. Once they arrived, they found the victim in a public bathroom in one of the stalls. Rabago threatened to beat the man and put his face in the toilet if he didn’t lick the urinal. He then “grabbed the man’s shoulder, held him down and stepped on his legs to keep him on his knees until he licked the urinal,” according to the outlet.

After the incident took place, Rabago reportedly told Ramones to delete any text messages regarding what happened. Ramones, who has also left the police department, is scheduled to be sentenced next week. He pleaded guilty to knowing that the other officer committed a civil rights violation and not alerting authorities about the crime.

“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,” Assistant US Attorney Tom Brady said. 

During the sentencing, Rabago apologized to the victim and his family. “Two years ago, I made a decision I’m not proud of,” he said. “My actions changed the course of life for all of us.” 

The victim, who has remained unamed, has since filed a lawsuit against the Honolulu Police Department and the city. His lawyer Myles Breiner said that his client is happy with the sentencing. “He’s pleasantly surprised that the court punished him appropriately,” Briener said. “He was under the impression that they would coddle him and give him a minimum term, a very low sentence.” 


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