HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A homeless man who was forced to lick a urinal by a Honolulu police officer in 2018 is suing the officer, the Honolulu Police Department and the city.
The suit comes after Officer John Rabago pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to violate Samuel Ingall’s civil rights while another officer, Reginald Ramones, pleaded guilty to not reporting the abuse.
“These officers thought it was another form of amusement because one of these officers had a history of doing this," said attorney Myles Breiner, who filed the suit on behalf of Ingall.
The civil lawsuit alleges that Rabago and Ramones took Ingall into a Sheridan Street restroom in January 2018 and that Rabago threatened to arrest him if he didn’t lick the urinal.
Ramones has left the police force. Rabago has been relieved of his police duties.
Ingall is currently in a rehab facility, Breiner said.
Breiner said Rabago told officers that he forced another homeless person to lick the urinal in a bathroom at Cartwright Field.
“Something like this shouldn’t happen but it frequently does," Breiner said.
But Rabago’s attorney said the case is an “aberration.”
“I think John made a mistake, he owned up to his mistake, he accepted responsibility and he entered a guilty plea," said Rabago’s attorney Megan Kau.
"This is not something happening on a day-to-day basis in the police force. "
Sources said a police internal investigation confirmed the civil rights violations and that the HPD referred the case to the U.S. Attorney’s office, leading to the guilty pleas.
Because the police officers were sued in their official capacity, the city and taxpayers will likely be on the hook if Ingall wins his lawsuit.
“They’re supposed to be vetted sufficiently, and trained sufficiently,” said Breiner.