A former Honolulu police officer who forced a homeless man to lick a public urinal in 2018, has been sentenced to four years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi sentenced John Rabago on Wednesday, July 15, for civil rights violations, telling him to imagine someone doing that to his two young daughters.
Rabago, 44, and another officer had responded to a nuisance complaint in a public bathroom on Sheridan Street, where they came across a homeless man named Sam Ingall.
The court revealed Rabago threatened to beat the man and stuff his face in a 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, the judge said.
Rabago later told the other officer to delete text messages about the incident, Kobayashi said.
The other officer in the case, Reginald Ramones, pleaded guilty to conspiring with Rabago after agreeing to testify against his fellow officer. He admitted in court that Rabago persuaded him not to tell federal authorities about the incident.
Ramones has also left the department and is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
Rabago pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to deprive a person of his civil rights, and one count of acting under the color of law to deprive the same individual of his civil rights.
The homeless man was just as defenseless and powerless as the children of defendant John Rabago, U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi said.
“You took from him his only possession: his dignity as a human being,” Kobayashi said.
John Rabago will serve 36 months for the first count, and 12 months for the second count. Both will run consecutively.