A police officer with the Honolulu Police Department pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of conspiring to deprive a person of his civil rights, and acting under cover of law to treat the affected individual in an atrocious manner.
John Rabago, 43, was found guilty of forcing an unfortunate individual to lick the urinal of a public bathroom, therefore indulging in, while on duty, a clear-cut case of civil-rights violation. "Sadly, this officer abused his authority and violated the trust of the public he had been sworn to serve," said Eli S. Miranda, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Honolulu Field Office, in a statement.
Conspiring with a fellow officer
While Rabago was the main accused in the case, Reginald Ramones, 43, had also taken part in the perpetration of the crime. On September 25, 2019, Ramones pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony. In his plea, he admitted that in spite of being aware of the felony perpetrated by Rabago, he did not bring it to the attention of the relevant federal authorities.
The former HPD officer's plea also revealed that he was present during a separate and unrelated incident prior to January 2018. Rabago is said to have made an individual put his head inside a public toilet as a way to avoid being taken into custody by him.
Condemning Rabago's misuse of authority, Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in the statement, "As a police officer sworn to uphold and defend the laws of our nation, Rabago abused his authority and violated an individual's constitutional rights."
Charges filed and possible outcomes of conviction
For the conspiracy charge, Rabago could face a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. The deprivation of rights under color of law charge comes with a fine of $100,000 and maximum penalty of one year in prison.
US Attorney Kenji M. Price, District of Hawaii, commented that abuse of authority was unacceptable and law enforcement officers engaging in it will be brought to justice. "Officer Rabago violated his obligation to serve, not victimize, the public," he added.