HONOLULU (KHON2) — One of the HPD officers accused in the case of a man forced to lick a public restroom urinal has agreed to testify against the other officer.
Reginald Ramones pled guilty to a lesser charge after agreeing to testify against officer John Rabago.
Ramones admitted in court that Rabago persuaded him not to tell federal authorities about the incident. Ramones also said that Rabago had committed other crimes even before this incident.
John Rabago seen here in the striped blue shirt and Reginald Ramones were indicted in April for civil rights violations. Federal prosecutors say in January 2018 Ramones and Rabago went into the bathroom on Sheridan Street with three other officers. That’s where they found Sam Ingall a homeless man and forced him to lick the urinal.
“My client just wanted to get out of the bathroom and go,” said Sam Ingall’s Attorney Myles Breiner. “He was homeless, he had a bicycle. a security guard let him into the bathroom so he could clean up.”
Breiner is representing Ingall who plans to file against a civil lawsuit against the city. Breiner says Ramones’ admission in court shows there’s a deeper problem at HPD.
“Much to my surprise, I think everyone in the courtroom recognized that Mr. Ramones implicated HPD in having prior knowledge of Rabago’s criminal behavior with other individuals,” said Breiner.
It’s not clear what those other violations are. Megan Kau, Rabago’s attorney, says it’s suspicious that Ramones would bring up other incidents and she plans to cross-examine him during the trial. She maintains that the bathroom incident never happened. And that officers talked about it as a joke.
“John Rabago still maintains his innocence and he’s ready and prepared to go to trial. Despite his co-defendant’s plea which is I believe to failure to report instead of a constitutional violation of a citizen,” said Kau.
She says there is video from a camera outside the bathroom that shows the officers and Ingall inside. But there is no video of Ingall licking the urinal.
“We’ve all been able to review it. My client has been able to review it,” said Kau. “Even after reviewing the video footage my client maintains his innocence and says that he did not force the complainant to lick the toilet bowl or the urinal.”
“We are not aware of any earlier incidents involving officer Rabago. If anyone has any information they should contact HPD or the police commission.”– HPD said in a statement
ACLU Hawaii also released a statement saying, “we are pleased that the court is taking this matter seriously. We are closely watching these events.”