On Wednesday, former Honolulu police officer, John Rabago, 44, was sentenced to four years in prison for forcing a homeless man to lick a public urinal.
Rabago was charged with 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. According to court records, he pleaded guilty to both charges in December.
The court document shows that the judge sentenced the former police officer to three years in prison for the first charge and one year for the second. The terms will be served consecutively, he was also sentenced to three years of supervised release once he is released from prison.
In a CNN report, Megan Kau, Rabago’s attorney, said she was concerned over the length of the sentence.
“It seems to be a reaction to what’s going on in the nation regarding racism in the police forces on the mainland,” Kau said.
“Nothing — zero evidence — was presented to even give anyone the slightest idea that it was based on race.”
According to the attorney, Rabago resigned from the Honolulu Police Department months before his sentencing.
Based on the indictment filed in April 2019, Rabago and another officer responded to a nuisance complaint in January 2018 when they found a homeless man in a stall in a public restroom.
Then, with another officer standing in the doorway of the bathroom the accused officer, “in an aggressive tone,” told the homeless man that he “could only avoid arrest if he licked the urinal in the bathroom,” a court filing says.
Eventually, the second officer left, leaving Rabago in the restroom alone with the victim.
Court records stated that the homeless man “then reluctantly knelt down before the urinal and licked the urinal.”
“Defendant Rabago then allowed (the man) to gather his possessions and leave the bathroom,” according to the records.
In a statement from the Department of Justice, Reginald Ramones, the other officer, pleaded guilty in September to knowing Rabago committed a civil rights violation and failing to report it.
Ramones also admitted that he witnessed a separate and unrelated incident prior to January 2018 in which Rabago made another person place their head in a public bathroom toilet in order to avoid arrest.
Ramones is still awaiting sentencing while Rabago is set to report to prison on August 28.