HONOLULU - Two Hawaii police officers have been indicted on federal charges stemming from allegations they forced a homeless man to lick a public urinal.
Honolulu police Officers John Rabago and Reginald Ramones, both 43, are each charged with one count of conspiring to deprive a person of his civil rights and one count of acting under color of law to deprive the same individual of his civil rights, according to federal court records. The indictments were handed down Thursday.
The officers were arrested Friday and their bail set at $25,000 each, court records show. They have since been released on bond.
BREAKING: The two HPD officers accused of civil rights violations for allegedly forcing a homeless man to lick a urinal post bond. Reginald Ramones, in the black shirt & John Rabago, in blue, stood with their attorneys outside federal court. https://t.co/wI5HS4YkUI pic.twitter.com/2UTqlUbwlg— Lynn Kawano (@LynnKawano) April 6, 2019
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Rabago and Ramones deprived the victim of his right to be free from unreasonable seizure by a police officer in an incident that took place Jan. 28, 2018.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Rabago and Ramones were among four officers investigated by the FBI after another officer reported the alleged incident. The officers were responding to a trespassing call when they came into contact with the victim, identified by his mother last year as 37-year-old Samuel Ingall. He is referred to in federal court documents by his initials, S.I.
Ingall’s sisters, Mary and Melody Ingall, told Hawaii News Now in February 2018 that their brother, who is homeless and has struggled with drug abuse, would often use the public restroom where he was allegedly assaulted because employees were willing to unlock it for him.
“He said the cops much have been following him because they all came were he was,” Mary Ingall told Hawaii News Now.
The women said their brother was not only forced to lick the urinal, but was also forced to sit in urine and had his head held underwater in a toilet bowl.
“We know our brother. We know when he lies. We know when he’s being dishonest,” Mary Ingall told the news station. “And he was very sincere and very detailed, and it never changed, what he said.”
Melody Ingall said the officer should have just arrested her brother if he committed a crime.
“Take him to jail. Don’t abuse the power that is given,” Melody Ingall said. “That’s not right.”
Samuel Ingall did not report what happened to him, his sisters said. He told them he was surprised to learn another officer had spoken up.
All four officers were stripped of their guns and badges a week after the incident, when Honolulu police Chief Susan Ballard referred the case to the FBI.
“Our officers are sworn to uphold the right of all persons, and I expect every officer to treat every member of the public fairly and with respect,” Ballard said at the time, according to the Star-Advertiser. “Personally, I am appalled at the behavior, if it is true, and appropriate action will be taken.”
The conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the Justice Department’s news release said. The charge of deprivation under the color of law carries a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a fine of $100,000.
No charges have been filed thus far against the other two officers under federal investigation.
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