Homeless man forced to lick public urinal to avoid arrest, sues cops: 'It was a form of amusement'
Samuel Ingall's lawsuit has named the police officers in their official capacity, which will mean that the city and the taxpayers will be on the hook if he wins
HONOLULU, HAWAII: A homeless man who was forced to lick a urinal by two Honolulu police officers in 2018 is suing the officers, the Honolulu Police Department, and the city of Honolulu.
Samuel Ingall was taking shelter in a Sheridan Street restroom in the city in January 2018 when one of the officers, later identified as John Rabago, told him in an "aggressive tone" that the "only way he could avoid arrest was by licking the urinal in the bathroom," states the lawsuit, obtained by ABC News.
Another officer, Reginald Ramones, stood in the doorway propping open the door but closed it so he and Rabago would not be caught on video. The lawsuit goes on to state that Ingall, "against his will, knelt before the urinal and licked the urinal."
Rabago then followed Ingall out of the bathroom and laughed as he told other officers about making the homeless man lick the urinal.
The suit comes in the wake of Rabago pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to violate Ingall's civil rights and Ramones pleading guilty to a lesser charge that he knew his partner committed a civil rights violation but not reporting it.
Ramones has since left the police force and Rabago has been relieved of his duties. Two other officers also involved in the incident were placed on restricted duty after police Chief Susan Ballard turned over the case to the FBI.
"These officers thought it was another form of amusement because one of these officers had a history of doing this," said attorney Myles Breiner, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Ingall. "Something like this shouldn’t happen but it frequently does."
Breiner revealed Rabago had also told his fellow officers about a similar incident where he forced another homeless person to lick the urinal in a bathroom at Cartwright Field.
However, Megan Kau, Rabago's attorney, insisted that the case was an "aberration" and that her client had learned from the incident.
"I think John made a mistake, he owned up to his mistake, he accepted responsibility and he entered a guilty plea," she said. "This is not something happening on a day-to-day basis in the police force."
As the police officers were sued in their official capacity, the city and the taxpayers will be on the hook if Ingall wins. "For now, we’ll decline comment on the pending litigation," said city spokesman Alexander Zannes.