Cop Assaults Air Force Captain for Not Knowing His Neighbor, Suggests He Could Have Tased or Shot Him Instead

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Capt. Nicolás Aquino attends the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California, and plans to devote his life to military service. His family fled Paraguay to escape a brutal dictatorship before he was born, and they came to America because of the rights the U.S. Constitution offered.

"That's one of the many factors in terms of why I wanted to serve this country, so I could uphold those ideals, that I could fight, that I could give back to the community and make sure that [my family] can keep those freedoms," says Aquino.

Aquino says he works everyday towards protecting these rights. That, he says, makes his entanglement with law enforcement these past few months even more infuriating.

In December 2013, Aquino was at home when he noticed Sheriff's Deputy Ivan Rodriguez outside his property. Apparently, one of Aquino's neighbors didn't recognize him and called the Sheriff's Department to report a suspicious person. According to Aquino, Rodriguez didn't identify himself and didn't clarify why he was at Aquino's address. After some conversation, Aquino asked if he was being detained, and the officer said yes. The police report claims that Aquino asked this in a "confrontational tone."

"The officer, he appears to have been offended at the idea that a citizen would question his authority or would even ask any questions," says Aquino's lawyer, Steven Liner. "Everything that Nicolás was doing, to me is sort of like textbook 'OK, I'm going to be respectful, I'm going to answer questions, but I'm also going to insist that you answer questions for me, because I am within my rights on my property to ask these questions.'"

Even after Aquino provided his military ID and offered to get his utlity bills to show proof of address, Rodriguez remained unconvinced that Aquino was not a burglar and moved to physically detain him.

"He just grabbed my wrist without any warning, without provocation, put me in a choke hold," says Aquino. "I still have fluid buildup in the back of my right ear, a right head contusion, abrasions and contusions on the elbows, knees, and hip."

The officer then proceeded to put Aquino in handcuffs and search his wallet. He finally concluded that he did, in fact, live there.

"The officer did not apologize. He pulls me over to the side of the driveway and he does basic victim blaming, and he says it was my fault for not knowing my neighbors. He then states that he had wanted to tase me if he had a taser, and he would have shot and killed me if he had drawn his weapon, and he would have been fully justified in killing me," says Aquino.

After the incident, Aquino thought he could put the nightmare behind him. Two months later, however, he was notified that there was a warrant out for him for resisting arrest during the incident. Aquino was dumbfounded but decided to fight back.

"I was not aggressive or confrontational in any way," says Aquino. "Are we supposed to bend over and, excuse my French, just take it? Just because a person is on a power trip and feels that he can bully you into submission?"

Liner says no, citizens need to stand up for their rights. "This is an opportunity for all of us to talk about how it is that citizens have an absolute right to ask questions and that police officers should be respectful and civil and act lawfully, which means not using force unless it is really called for," he says.

Once word got out about the arrest, the public flocked to support Aquino. The DA seemed unconvinced at that point that a jury would side with Rodriguez, and he dropped the charges. This is a victory for Aquino, but the DA still appears to defend the officer's actions. The DA's office declined Reason's request for an interview.

Aquino plans to continue fighting and is filing a civil claim against Monterey County for damages.

About 7 minutes.

Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer, who also narrates.

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  1. And episodes like this reinforce that ONLY COPS should have the right to bear arms and use force. Cause SAFETY and “WELL-REGULATED” militia. And the children.

  2. “The officer did not apologize. He pulls me over to the side of the driveway and he does basic victim blaming, and he says it was my fault for not knowing my neighbors. He then states that he had wanted to tase me if he had a taser, and he would have shot and killed me if he had drawn his weapon, and he would have been fully justified in killing me,” says Aquino.

    So they’re not even pretending anymore. Is this a good sign or a bad sign?

    1. Good. Masks need to come off.

    2. It’s an extremely bad sign, but it’s also something that has to happen. All the people who just watch Law & Order and think cops are wonderful and flawless need to have their eyes opened.

      1. Their eyes won’t be opened until it happens to them, and by then it’s too late.

        1. But their neighbors will see too and learn… assuming they know their neighbors.

          1. This video is a case in point that they don’t know their neighbors.

      2. Shows what you know.

        I only watch SVU, so in addition to being convinced that 2/3 of NYC is covered in semen and blood from all the serial rapists and murderers out there, I’m pretty confident assured that cops are unstable, reckless, abusive, vice ridden, lawless, dishonest, inconsistent, allowed to break rules without consequences, and don’t stand a chance getting sufficient evidence for conviction against someone with an IQ over 100 and basic knowledge of their rights.

        1. Finally, someone who feels the same about that idiotic show as I do. I suppose it is excusable, but another thing that irritates me is how every coincidence just perfectly falls in place for them, and everything is wrapped up so nice and neat over such a short period of time. But, my significant other loves the show, so what are you gonna do?

      3. Perhaps we should petition the cable companies to tag shows like LAW AND ORDER as the Fantasy or Science Fiction that they are…..

        1. Trigger Warnings!

        2. Like MST 3000!!!

      4. I agree that it’s an extremely bad sign, but something that should never be happening, let alone needing to happen! Would you rather unmask the villains, or turn the villains into (or replace them with) good guys? I’d rather have the good guys, thanks.

      5. Anybody who was watching Law & Order and thinks cops are wonderful needs to re watch Law & Order because they clearly didn’t understand it.

    3. We citizens just need to learn their dominance displays, so we can cower and grimace in fear with the rest of the troop.

    4. ” He then states… and he would have shot and killed me if he had drawn his weapon, and he would have been fully justified in killing me,”

      He didn’t just assault the guy, he threatened to murder him.

      1. We really do need to find a way to get better police. I really don’t know how to to this without a draft since the people who want to be police are a danger to us all.

        1. Kind of like my “Harry Truman Rule” for elected officials… if they openly state that they WANT to be in office, they’re automatically disqualified.

          Only folks that have to be dragged, kicking and screaming into office and swear that they won’t run for re-election should be able to appear on the ballots.

          Look at the last several score years of history for proof.

        2. Our society is full of people doing things for the wrong reasons. Cops are no different.

    5. it’s at that point that even a polite air force captain needs to wonder aloud if an officer of this type was dropped on his head as a child.

  3. “I was not aggressive or confrontational in any way,” says Aquino. “Are we supposed to bend over and, excuse my French, just take it? Just because a person is on a power trip and feels that he can bully you into submission?”

    Yes.

    /PoliceOne

  4. If the cop had tried to choke a Marine, the cop would have had the fuck beat out of him based on trained reactions. And, the Marine would be in jail for years because cops hate losing fights they start.

    1. Or the marine would go all First Blood on him.

    2. And, the Marine would be in jail for years because cops hate losing fights they start.

      Or the cops buddies in blue would have shown up and killed the Marine in a hail of a couple hundred bullets. Then they would have received praise and commendation for their “restraint” in only using a couple hundred bullets.

  5. Meh, sounds like a whiney minority. Cop should have just shot him and claimed that he tried to resist arrest.

    1. I’ll take this as sarc.

      1. Actually it’s not. The way the police are trained today; he should have just kept his mouth shut. Instead, he kept mouthing off. This is why he got arrested.

        best thing one can do, seeing the cops are more and more becoming militarized is to shut up, do what they say, post bond and lawyer up.

        Otherwise, you might end up dead. This is especially true seeing all of these whacked out Iraqi soldiers are ending up as cops, with PTSD.

        it’s sad to say, but it’s really true.

        1. So it’s not sarcasm, but a whimpering surrender to reality.

          I don’t agree, but I understand.

        2. IOW, STOP RESISTING!!!11!!!

        3. “all of these whacked out Iraqi soldiers are ending up as cops, with PTSD.”

          I made friends with a couple of Iraqi soldiers, but they are in Iraq, not in a police department in the US. I don’t think either of them has PTSD either.

        4. “Are we supposed to bend over and, excuse my French, just take it? ”

          Yes. And you’re right.

          Don’t bring a constitution to a gun fight.

        5. What did he not do? ………dipshit

    2. And you sound like an asshole.

  6. Has the shitty neighbor gotten a beat down yet?

    1. I hope you’re joking. Possibly this is a reference to other people’s remarks in another thread. Of course nobody should blame the neighbor for this unlikely and unanticipated consequence of his call. It’s like smelling gas, calling the fire dept., and having them come beat somebody up…which I don’t doubt could happen, but usually doesn’t. We don’t read as much about abusive firemen, but I bet there are some.

      1. You don’t have to assume violent firemen. Just doing a 911 call will likely bring cops, regardless of cause.

      2. We don’t read as much about abusive firemen, but I bet there are some.

        There are some assholes in every profession but apparently nothing seems to attract them more than the mountain of incentives on the other side of the blue line.

        1. Some, who admit that cops are dicks but want to stick up for them, argue that the ‘pressures of the job’ turn them into bastards.

          But a good 80+ percent of the folks I’ve known who become cops were colossal pricks to begin with.

          The whole ‘we deal with the scum of humanity’ line is just a convenient rationalization to let their inner asshole shine.

  7. So they’re not even pretending anymore. Is this a good sign or a bad sign?

    Bad. It’s an explicit demonstration of their (correct) belief THEY ARE UNTOUCHABLE.

    If a cop comes up your driveway, leaps out of his car, and starts shooting at you for no reason, any attempt at self-defense, no matter how reasonable, on your part will be brushed aside in the name of OFFICER SAFETY. It will be introduced at the coroner’s inquest as proof positive of your malignancy.

    1. Cops and the DA work round the clock to cover their fuck ups. After all, we have to protect Chief Wiggum.

      1. “Can I hold my gun like this chief?”

  8. If these cases could be brought into open civilian courtrooms, instead of buried in the union controlled internal review, maybe we might see some pushback.

    But, based on the Kelly Thomas verdict, even that seems far fetched.

  9. You train these half-wits as thugs, hop them up on ridiculous amounts of steroids, and let them loose on the streets, of course they’re going to hear everything as “who wants cake?”

    1. And they all do. They all want cake.

      1. Too bad that come at you all tasers and sidearms instead of just knees and elbows.

      2. To be fair, I want cake too. Pie would also be good.

        1. I still can’t get over that some Hostess cakelet was in the running against BLUEBERRY PIE as the official dessert of some state. That was like a Little League team getting into the World Series.

    2. We really should drug test these guys. I’m thinking it can’t hurt and just might keep them from being bigger dicks than they already are.

  10. Did the officer go home safely? Because that’s the only thing that matters.

    1. He may have scuffed his wrist on Aquino’s chin stubble while attempting the choke hold…

    2. Yeah. He stole a car & ran over a dog on the way there, arriving in one piece, booking overtime.

  11. Aquino plans to continue fighting and is filing a civil claim against Monterey County for damages.

    In a just world he would be able to file suit against the cop.

    1. If it’s a lawsuit under 42 USC 1983 the cop will be named in his personal capacity. That theoretically puts his personal assets at risk and he can’t use public funds to defend himself.

  12. Once word got out about the arrest, the public flocked to support Aquino. The DA seemed unconvinced at that point that a jury would side with Rodriguez, and he dropped the charges. This is a victory for Aquino, but the DA still appears to defend the officer’s actions. The DA’s office declined Reason’s request for an interview.

    The officer still on the job, making more than I am and heading for a big fat pension? Yeah? Then it’s no victory.

    1. In a sane world the cop would out a job, out a pension and serving 30 days in jail for assault. Sane worlds do not exist.

      1. 30 days? Six months. In GenPop, where there’s a good chance he’ll leave feet first.

      2. In a sane world the cop would be dead. Dead dead dead. He assaulted a member of the armed forces on that person’s property with no rational cause. It should be the expected result of such behavior that the homeowner render the cop incapable of causing any more trouble, as quickly and expeditiously as possible. Brownie points if the cop lives to stand trial, but not a necessity.

        It should be a simple equation;

        Cop behaves in a irrational and dangerous manner to a citizen with combat training = dead cop. Police chief is fired, and the mayor who appointed him loses the next election.

        1. Consider the sequence of events; You’re talking, and then one guy grabs you around the neck & slams you to the ground! Was the preliminary conversation just to set the guy up?

    2. Pnews crews should follow dicks like Rodriguez unto they catch them making a mistake.

  13. When are we going to start going to their houses, with masks on, and terrorizing them and their loved ones?

    Seriously, anybody?

    1. The chair is against the door.

      1. John’s mustache is long.

    2. From what I know about cops’ kids (or prosecutors’ kids, for that matter), that would be double victimization.

  14. The problem is not people being able to see what’s wrong with a lot of police – they do. but that’s not enough. They cower and submit for immediate safety, because they know how cops can be.

    What needs to happen is people standing up to it – realizing they CAN and SHOULD do something about it through civil/criminal action – and that it’s important enough for them to go through the ordeal of pursuing that route. The public dissatisfaction needs to be at the point where it’s visible, and politically advantageous for mayors/council members/etc of towns to support holding officers accountable. Those pols, not the President, or DOJ, or anyone else at some other level of gov, is going to be responsible for reforming a bad police dept.

    Also, police have to get to the point of expecting push back instead of submission when they do these things – most cops are going to think twice about being a bully if they know it’s likely going to be a PITA for them. Remember in school – bullies pick weak, vulnerable targets – not the ones they know take no guff – same thing applies here.

    As it stands now, pol’s at all levels are seen as suspect if they voice any criticism or problems with police – most politicians think they need to come off as “law and order types” to have appeal.

    1. It happened twice in Texas already. In one of those cases the sheriff was told “take care of this asshole or we will”. He terminated the deputy for his own safety.

      1. It’s not unusual for a cop(s) to get shot on no knock raids in Texas.

        http://goo.gl/TxQDCw

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  16. This just strikes me as a very, very, stupid mistake on the part of the police. When they realized he was military they probably should have gone into full ass-kissing mode. If the public likes the police, it LOVES the military.

    1. NO, while in that case the cop’s action of showing respect to the captain would have been correct, that is NOT a healthy rationale for it. It should be because he’s a freakin’ citizen with rights, period. Shouldn’t have to be another “hero” who’s getting “professional courtesy”.

      I like this better, actually – the sooner that the cops start letting the mask slip and pushing the envelope further and further, and when not even the “heroes” who are used to being revered everywhere by everyone are safe from police bullying – the closer we’ll be to the necessary tipping point of public outcry for demonstrable change in law enforcement.

      It has to get worse before it can get better. I think we’re in that decrescendo now.

      1. DC, I agree with you that the reason the cops should have shown respect is for exactly the reason you state, the sad fact is that cops like this don’t respond to things like principle or common decency. They operate on the level of, well, bullies. And I was analyzing the scenario from the quality of bullying. And from that perspective, the cop didn’t even do his bullying well.

    2. Didn’t do Jose Guerena(1) or Erik Scott(2)much good.

      The ‘bad apple’ rationalization works very well to calm the cognitive dissonance in these situations.
      Served his country, normally a hero but if gunned down by cops ‘bad apple’
      If proved beyond any possibility of doubt that cops were wrong, they were ‘bad apples’ and thus the just world spins along happily.

      (1)
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Guerena_shooting

      (2)
      http://erikbscott.com/

      1. Worst case of veteran abuse by cops ever.

        Six Houston cops arrested a Vietnam vet at a bar, handcuffed him, beat the fuck out of him, and then threw him into the bayou why handcuffed and left him to drown.

        Wiki doesn’t mention this but its worth noting that Torres was a badass. He was Special Forces , green beret type asskicker in Vietnam. It took 6 cops to put him in handcuffs.

  17. He should file a civil-rights suit against Rodriguez for false arrest, and assorted acts of brutality under color of authority.
    I think that damages in the neighborhood of $1MM plus would be in order.

  18. “The officer did not apologize. He pulls me over to the side of the driveway and he does basic victim blaming, and he says it was my fault for not knowing my neighbors. He then states that he had wanted to tase me if he had a taser, and he would have shot and killed me if he had drawn his weapon, and he would have been fully justified in killing me,”

    Our rulers can assault us in our own homes and threaten to kill us with impunity, noting that they can also *actually* kill us with impunity.

    “The officer did not apologize.”

    That’s sweet, thinking that our rulers might apologize for brutalizing him. I hope the cops don’t hear him say it, because it’s a clear indication that he’s been taking psychoactive substances, and you know what what will get him.

  19. Hhe wasn’t arrested, but charged with resisting arrest? If he’s telling the truth I hope he ends up taking everything from this cop, including job and wealth.

    1. It’s amazing how often the charge of ‘resisting arrest’ is filed with no underlying charge.
      From the looks of things, since it was filed well after the incident and after the victim had ‘made a stink’ about the matter, it’s the usual case of trying to sow the uppity citizen who his betters are.

  20. The officer, he appears to have been offended at the idea that a citizen would question his authority or would even ask any questions

    Naturally. The days when police officers were told that their job was to keep the peace are long gone.

    I hope that Aquino refuses to accept any settlement that lets this thug keep his job.

    -jcr

  21. Put me on the jury for the civil case and I will do my part to make the captain a millionaire. The cop needs to be fired and his surety bond rescinded so he can’t just become some other community’s problem.

    This was absolutely disgraceful.

  22. this happens countless times within economically challenged neighborhoods. I had a cop once tell me were the police we do what we want now. When you live near a prison The Officers are under direct orders ”do what ever” to arrest. That means lie ,cheat and fabricated.

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