NPS Gates

Just before 1pm last Dec. 13, Nicolas Aquino was enjoying what I like to think of as the constitutionally protected right to sit around his own home wearing comfy clothes on a Saturday afternoon. His wife was out and Aquino was kicking back with their two little dogs, plotting nothing more than Christmas shopping.

And then the dogs started barking that kind of relentless bark that happens when someone is creeping around outside.

Aquino, a U.S. Air Force captain and Naval Postgraduate School student, took his hoodie-wearing self to the door, peered out the window and saw a guy wearing a uniform. Aquino stepped outside, closed the door behind him and asked, “Excuse me, can I help you?”

Monterey Sheriff’s Deputy Ivan Rodriguez responded he was investigating a report of suspicious activity in the area – specifically, as Rodriguez’s written report would later describe, “an adult Hispanic male wearing a hoodie” walking around and into a Carmel Woods’ residence. It seems one of the neighbors told Rodriguez “he was suspicious of the male at 24591 Portola Ave. and that ‘I should keep my eye on him.’” Aquino had lived in the home for about 10 months at that point. He was walking around outside looking for a UPS package that had been delivered.

Rodriguez, according to his written report, asked for Aquino’s ID. Aquino asked him if he was being detained. And that’s where things went straight to hell. Aquino says he reached slowly into his pocket, got his wallet, took out his military ID card and held it up for the deputy to see. Rodriguez says Aquino refused to hand that ID over, while Aquino says the deputy told him a military ID didn’t prove he lived there. Aquino said he was going inside to retrieve some bills that could prove it, and says that’s when Rodriguez tackled him.

“He doesn’t say anything. He grabs my wrist, puts me in a front guillotine, spins me around and I land on all fours,” Aquino tells me. A construction worker from a project across the street ran over and helped pile on.

A second deputy arrived and Aquino was handcuffed and placed in a patrol car. “I told them, ‘I don’t consent to a search,’” Aquino says. “They went to my door and it appears they went into my house.”

About 20 minutes later, Aquino was released. The deputies let him get his bills and prove he lived there.

Aquino claims the deputy took him aside and told him he could have avoided the confrontation by knowing his neighbors. And then, according to Aquino, the deputy said, “You started this by not giving me your ID.”

Aquino thought that was the end of the story. But six weeks later, on Jan. 31, the District Attorney’s office charged Aquino with resisting or delaying a police officer. He had moved from the Carmel Woods home – he and his wife were too upset to continue living there – and the paperwork never reached him, although he continued checking his mail because his lease wasn’t up. Aquino found out about the charge when the highest ranking Air Force officer at NPS called and told him, “Don’t come to NPS or any other base, there’s a warrant out for your arrest.”

Chief Assistant District Attorney Terry Spitz, a former Army officer, realizes the charge could mean the end of Aquino’s career. Spitz believes the military is already investigating, in fact, because Aquino refused to hand his ID to a legitimate law enforcement officer.

“It’s always unfortunate when someone is generally a good citizen and law abiding and ends up in a mess like this,” Spitz says.

I ask Spitz about the reality that Aquino was in his own home, minding his own business, when the mess occurred.

“A minute of cooperation,” he says, “and this conversation would not be taking place.”

Aquino goes to court on April 16. He’s retained defense attorney Steve Liner to represent him, but he’s also hired litigator Nina Patane. Sometime in the next few weeks, Patane will file a claim against the sheriff’s office as a precursor to a possible lawsuit.

“I’ve been shot at before,” says Aquino, a Washington, D.C. native and eight-year veteran of the Air Force. “But I’ve never been more scared than I was that day in Carmel.”

MARY DUAN is the Weekly’s editor. Reach her at mary@mcweekly.com
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(12) comments

THAAG

Aquino did not ask to get any bills or proof that he was a resident. He was being a smart mouth and disrespectful. That was how he was resisting.

THAAG

All Aquino had to do is prove he lives in the house. He is an idiot for resisting arrest. Aquino can spin this incident any way he wants and he is, but only in his favor.
The officer involved did exactly what he should have done. What if Aquino was truly an intruder and the officer let him leave no questions asked.
This is not about race, the officer involved is hispanic as well. This is about an a Captain of the air force who thought he was above the law and he knows better.. Now he is trying all he can to smear this deputy and the sheriffs department because he is in trouble now. I am sure Aquino regrets his decision to resist and could take back that moment in time but now he wants to blame everyone else. His career is over and he is looking for a big payday from ANYONE. What honor is he showing as a military officer. NONE.

Barbara

I think the police handled this wrong from moment one. I also think the police are trying to protect themselves because they messed up. Why was he detained in the first place? Resist arrest for what? He never resisted anyone. He is military they know how to follow commands but not in their own front yard with no explanation. My step father was a cop and the one thing he taught us kids was to do exactly what they tell you asap or you will be thrown to the ground. He explained that if the cop thinks you're not cooperating they have reason to worry. They can't lose officers all the time because of hesitation on their part. It is how they are trained. However in this case I do not believe that once they knew he lived there they needed to do anything but apologize. They still need to esp after filing charges against him for doing nothing. Again I think the cops are covering their backs. I hope this young man kicks they butt with the law.

oldguy49

I find this physically repugnant, as a retired military officer, and as a resident of the Peninsula, that a military officer, in his own home, looking for a package he is expecting is in this kind of trouble. How could the neighbor not possibly know this man was their neighbor, because he did not look like them? The officer showed his military ID and this was not good enough? This poor fellow could have his career ruined because he is now caught up in one of the most corrupt legal systems in the State. What a shame!!!!!

elizhp

My recently departed, much-older-than-me second cousin, Rudy, was both a Salinas High and West Point grad. At some point after he took his commission as a U.S. Army officer, he'd bought a red Corvette, and he'd drive it often between his home in the South Bay and his parents' in Salinas. Just as often, the CHP on Highway 101 around Gilroy would pull him over. Uncle Rudy would hand over his military i.d., and the CHP officer would admonish him for, um, something, and let him go without a citation. And he never, ever received a traffic ticket.

Uncle Rudy was also a dark-complexioned Filipino American with a Spanish surname, but that may be beside the point, which is that a military officer who is asked to identify himself by a police officer may make the assumption that, once he displays his military i.d., the police officer will give him benefit of the doubt.

I suspect that this is not the first time that Capt. Nicolas Aquino has been asked to identify himself by a civilian police officer; if so, I am guessing that in those previous incidents, the military i.d. dissolved potential for an altercation. Unfortunately, Capt. Aquino's military i.d. did not persuade Deputy Rodriguez that he deserved benefit of the doubt. A bit of common sense on Deputy Rodriguez's part -- i.e., someone with a military i.d. is not likely involved in criminal activity -- would have saved everyone a lot of trouble.

Janet Collins

Now that I have read the whole story, I'll add my two cents worth, again...This is pure BS..That this man should have been treated so DISRESPECTFULLY and not even given half a chance to prove he lived there when he offered to get his bills to do so...And then to have this DA's office come after him with the possibility of a career ending fiasco over these bullying cops supposedly doing their almighty JOB...Nuts...I hope this guy gets a good lawyer and sues the living daylights out of them and the neighbor, too...Aquino is good guy and has been brutalized by the system...Try to put the blame on this poor guy says the cop to him because HE should have gotten to know this dimwit neighbor..

DymaxionPz

A sad state of affairs, but interesting case. Based on the info in the story, this will come down to whether the judge/jury believe an ID was shown or not. I'm surprised Mrs Aquino wasn't a witness to the exchange. Maybe she let the officers in after seeing what they did to her husband? I know this is only speculation, but it sounds like there's a lot more to this story than what's being reported. Military folk are pretty good about getting our mail forwarded and a mid-grade officer should know when to involve the local Navy legal service office when things with local law enforcement start to go sideways. People are people & misunderstandings will happen, but there needs to be a point where things are allowed to DE-escalate. Maybe that point will be when this case goes to court.

Mari Dehmler

Regardless of how this case turns out, it will be wonderful if not just Carmel but all police departments in Monterey County are soon able to follow the lead of Salinas PD. Salinas is the first PD on the West Coast to have 100% of its PD trained in police legitimacy, as was announced at David M. Kennedy's talk at CSUMB on 3/28/14. To learn more, for starters, see the following links:

http://www.9-1-1magazine.com/Sedevic-Procedural-Justice-Training
http://www.nij.gov/topics/law-enforcement/legitimacy/Pages/welcome.aspx

Perhaps it will also be of interest to readers to note our county's demographics as cited in Kera Abraham's informative chart "Majority Rules" in the June 9, 2011 Weekly. As of the 2009 census, the Latino/Hispanic population of Carmel was 5.1% as compared to, e.g., Monterey, 12.8%, Seaside, 39.5%, Salinas, 71.7% and Chualar, 94.0%.

letthelightin

What really disgusts me is the Carmel resident who made the call in the first place. It says in the report that these people were neighbors for eight months. It's hard to believe that they hadn't noticed each other during that period. I would not be at all surprised if he/she did this with the intention of having their neighbor being removed or moving away.

Then there's the police officer telling the guy that he could have avoided all of this by getting to know his neighbors. It's his only way of telling the guy who is really to blame for the whole incident: the neighbor who called.

Also, the fact that they didn't charge him until six weeks after the incident seems to imply that someone, maybe even the neighbor, later decided that they wanted to cause even more trouble for this guy.
Additionally, it says that he continued to lease the property because his contract wasn't up and so continued checking the mail after moving out, meaning that the city never informed him of his court date or that they had filed any charges at all and so he never appeared before the court. This resulted in the filing of a warrant which would involve another quite possibly violent encounter while attempting to restrain and degrade him once more.

The police are here to serve the elite, the über wealthy, the establishment. So if an individual who doesn't fit in with them has the gall to move into one of their cities, all a rich white member of the ruling class need do is call up his local public servant and act as if there's a potential threat. The police are but puppets, fellow members of the lower classes lacking in morality, justified by their own financial woes, performing the bidding of the socially and financially powerful and corrupt members of the skyscraper-high classes. The police are not our ultimate enemies.

L831

This is abuse of power, to say the least. There are plenty of good, honest police officers, and then there are officers like Rodriguez. I'm outraged that they went into this man's home without his consent, and without a warrant. Racial profiling is a major problem, and it's persistently worse in Carmel. The worst part? This sort of thing is usually Hispanic cops vs. Hispanic citizens. Sad.

BOB OLIVER

Dec. 13, Nicolas Aquino: Summary of a Police State Action

Man living in his own rented house confronted by Cop. Cop claims man "detained him." Ticket never reaches man. Man finds out warrant out for his arrest, "don't show up for work, we will have to arrest you", says NPGS Official.

WOMAN CONFRONTED IN HER OWNED HOME (HER CAR). Cop claims woman "detained her." Ticket never reaches woman. Woman finds out warrant issued for her arrest.
SONNY FAWCET

story, "Traffic stop becomes criminal case for homeless woman" June 13th, 2013 -Coast Weekly.

ETC. ETC ETC. THE Same thing happened to me and how many others.... BOB OLIVER STORY...

the real story, WE ARE LIVING IN A POLICE STATE where court fines are more expensive then taxes (fewer have jobs).

IT IS THE DA'S OFFICE ASKING FOR THESE TYPE PROSECUTIONS!!

Bob Oliver 831 383-2676

"If you can see UFOs with third generation night vision goggles (and you can), then everything else is a lie."

ALLEN ASTON

LEAVE IT TO BORED CAMEL COPS TO SCREW UP THE LIFE OF ONE OF OUR VETRENS! WHAT BULL SH#%T!!! };^( [sad]

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