Nicolas Aquino, a Carmel, Calif. resident and Air Force captain who’s been featured in promotional material for the military because of his sterling reputation as a voluntarily enlisted airman, found himself in an unfortunate situation last December: a neighbor mistook him for a burglar as he entered his own home late one night and called the police.
Of course, when the police got to Aquino’s house, there was no burglar there – only Aquino. But, to Aquino’s bewilderment, that made no difference to the officer who showed up to investigate.
“All he said was, ‘I need to see your ID.’ At that moment I’m like, ‘Excuse me sir, but who are you? And why are you here?” Aquino told KSBW.
“He says it again, I have to produce identification. At that moment I asked him, ‘Am I being detained?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and so I said, ‘OK, then my name is Nicolas Aquino. I live right here. I’m in the military,'” Aquino said.
Aquino eventually pulled out his wallet to show his military identification card but didn’t hand it over.
According to the deputy’s account in the sheriff’s incident report, “The male then pulled his hand away from me, thereby moving the card away from my hand. I decided at that point I would detain him physically and place him into handcuffs.”
“That’s when he grabs my wrist, puts me in a front guillotine, slams my head into the ground and spins around and does a rear naked choke, so he puts me in a choke hold,” Aquino said.
In the incident report, the deputy wrote that while sitting on top of Aquino and with his hands around his head, “I yelled at the male to put his hands out to his sides. The male never complied. He was beginning to draw them in closer to the center of his body. Afraid that the male was going to reach for a weapon, I contemplated disengaging from him, drawing my own firearm and taking aim.”
“I physically can’t move, I’m not resisting,” Aquino told KSBW.
Ah, the classic “stop resisting!” routine.
Aquino, who wasn’t armed, was not charged with a crime that night. But nearly two months after the incident, a warrant was issued for his arrest on obstruction and resisting arrest charges. A student at the Naval Postgraduate School in nearby Monterrey, Aquino only learned of the warrant when his supervisor at the school told him about the charges and said he couldn’t be on campus until he had dealt with them.
The first-generation child of exiled Paraguayan immigrants, Aquino had previously been one of the Air Force’s shining stars. His was a sincere, feel-good story about appreciating the liberties and the opportunities this Nation affords those who know a thing or two about life under regimes that bully and intimidate dissenters – as his father learned at the hands of the Paraguayan government.
“U.S. Air Force Capt. Nicolas Aquino is a first-generation American that joined the United States Air Force as a way to give back to a country that opened its arms to his parents,” the Air Force remarked In promoting his video feature in 2012. “He details his parents’ struggle and their journey to the United States, and explains what freedom and service mean to him.”
“Aquino’s lawyer asked the Monterey County District Attorney to drop the charges, but was told it wasn’t going to happen,” KSBW reported Tuesday. “The entire ordeal, Aquino said, has put his military career in jeopardy.”