HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two Honolulu officers who allegedly forced a homeless man to lick a urinal in a public restroom were charged Friday with civil rights offenses, federal authorities said.
They both pleaded not guilty in federal court on Friday afternoon and were released on $25,000 bonds. Their trial date was set for June 3.
In an indictment, Honolulu Police Department Officers John Rabago and Reginald Ramones were each charged with one count of conspiring to deprive a person of his civil rights.
They were also both charged with one count of acting under the color of the law to deprive someone their civil rights.
The officers face a maximum term of 10 years behind bars. They also face fines of up to $350,000.
Outside of the federal courthouse on Friday afternoon, defense attorney Megan Kau said she believes a jury of their peers will find them not guilty.
“We are confident that once they are acquitted they’ll go back to D1 (district 1) patrol as they were before,” she said.
The incident at the center of the case happened in January 2018. In its wake, the police department stripped four officers of their badges and guns.
In a statement issued Friday, Police Chief Susan Ballard said the arrests “cast a dark shadow” on the department.
She added, “I ask that the public please continue to support the officers who carry out their daily assignments with courage, integrity, and respect for the public. The two officers who were arrested will have their day in court and be held accountable for their actions.”
The alleged incident occurred inside a public restroom near Keeaumoku and Sheridan Streets. The officers were called to the area after a trespassing complaint.
The homeless man, 37-year old Samuel Ingall, did not report the crime. It was a fifth responding officer who notified command.
The police department subsequently turned the case over to the FBI.
Ingall’s mother spoke with Hawaii News Now after the incident and said her son struggles with homelessness and mental illness and she was horrified at the allegations against the officer.
HPD said Rabago has 17 years of service with the department, while Ramones has 10. They have now been placed on leave without pay.
The two other officers involved in the case remain on restricted duty.