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Cops Cleared for ‘Pina Colada’ Song

March 13, 1998

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Two police officers were cleared of wrongdoing in the case of a suspected cookie thief who was handcuffed and serenaded with the ``Pina Colada Song.″

One of the officers, Anthony Toribio, recited a few lines of the 1970s pop tune for the Citizens Police Review Board before the panel ruled in his favor Thursday by rejecting allegations of bias.

Toribio’s partner, Jason England, was cleared of using excessive force when he handcuffed Julian Aldarondo at a movie theater last June.

Aldarondo said that England tapped him on the shoulder, handcuffed him and led him away for supposedly stealing a cookie from the concession counter. Aldarondo claims he left $2.25 on the counter.

He was freed a short time later, but not before Toribio sang to him.

Aldarondo accused Toribio of a racial slur, saying the song was aimed at Hispanics.

Toribio, who is from Spain, said he sang the tune after Aldarondo said he was a recording artist. Toribio said he chose the Rupert Holmes song, whose formal title is ``Escape,″ to defuse a tense situation.

``I thought if I sang some of the words he might recognize it,″ Toribio said. ``I did not attempt to offend.″