HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Honolulu police officer who’s accused of forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal to avoid arrest had done it before, according to a former Honolulu officer who pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to trying to cover up the alleged 2018 incident.
In a plea agreement, former Officer Reginald Ramones said his co-defendant in the civil rights case ― Officer John Rabago ― had also forced a homeless man to stick his head in a toilet at Cartwright Field.
The urinal incident happened in January 2018, and Ramones said he watched Rabago repeatedly threaten homeless man Samuel Ingalls with arrest unless he licked the bathroom urinal.
In court documents, Ramones also admitted to closing the bathroom door to prevent a security camera from recording the incident. Ramones said Rabago later laughed as he told other officers that Ingalls had licked the urinal. One of those officers reported the incident to the department.
Ramones said once they realized a civil rights investigation was underway, he followed Rabago’s instructions to lie about what happened and delete texts to make it look like Rabago was just joking.
Rabago denies violating Ingalls’ civil rights and remains on desk duty with the department.
Ramones has promised to testify against his former colleague.
In return he was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of covering up the incident, and the government promised to recommend probation,
Ramones has also resigned from the department.
Myles Breiner, the attorney for Ingalls, said the case is disturbing.
“A bunch of officers ... found it amusing to place his face in a urinal,” Breiner said. “I suspect ... the government allowed him to plead to a lesser offense for the very reason they needed to get this going to send the police department a message that they need to clean their act up.”