A police officer beat up an Air Force Captain–even though he was in his own home, unarmed, committing no crime–and now the captain is telling his story.
“He pulls me over to the side of the driveway,” Captain Nicolas Aquino recalled in an interview with Reason TV. “He then states, he wanted to tase me if he had a taser and would have shot and killed me if he had drawn his weapon and would have been fully justified in killing me.”
What could have possibly justified such a reaction? Aquino was too slow to show identification to the officer–despite being in his own home.
Aquino’s parents initially came to the United States from Paraguay to escape despotism. Their appreciation for American freedoms inspired their son to enroll in the military. (RELATED: Cop beats up model Air Force captain in his own home, issues arrest weeks later)
But in December, a neighbor who didn’t know Aquino had called the police to report a suspicious person entering the Monterey, California, home. Sheriff’s Deputy Ivan Rodrguez soon came to the property and demanded that Aquino identify himself. The deputy did not explain what he was doing at the house, and Aquino was concerned that he wasn’t a real cop.
Well aware of his rights, Aquino asked the officer if he was being detained. Rodriguez told him he was. Aquino then identified himself and asked to see a warrant.
Aquino had every right to question the police officer’s intentions. Rodriguez was perturbed, however.
“The officer appears to be offended at the idea that a citizen would question his authority,” said Steven Liner, Aquino’s attorney, in an interview.
In his police report, Rodriquez admitted that Aquino was neither confrontational nor aggressive–only slightly nervous–but that his tone was confrontational when he asked about being detained.
The officer believed this justified the use of physical action against Aquino. Rodriguez put him in a headlock and slammed him against the ground.
He eventually let Aquino go, satisfied that the Air Force captain did indeed live there. He did not apologize for his actions.
Astonishingly, Aquino later learned that the officer had charged him with resisting arrest–jeopardizing his chances of graduating from Naval Post Graduate School, which banned him from campus until his legal matters were sorted out.
Thanks in part to the media firestorm over the case, prosecutors dropped charges against Aquino. Now, he has decided to file his own suit against Monterey County to pay his legal expenses.