There was a massive public gay sex sting in Alabama this past week that's resulted in warrants for the arrest of 24 men. I don't know why they weren't arrested on the spot if they were caught having sex, but police are hoping that these men will turn themselves in.
Local police admit that these stings don't work:
For nearly 10 years, the HPD conducted sting after sting at the overlook. But these stings aren't stopping people from using the area for illicit sex, even in the middle of the day.
"We had to look at another sense, because we knew law enforcement alone was not working and that it didn't matter to them if they got caught or not," Roberts said.
Law enforcement officials said they're pushing the state to tear down a pavilion at the overlook in hopes of deterring the criminal activity.
But WAAYTV's actions, the station that covered the sting, are even more irresponsible. More on that after the jump.
The men were having sex in an area that's hidden away, where they could see people coming so that they could clear out if someone was coming. Since their discretion didn't make for good journalism, the local station decided to plant a camera there:
After HPD had concluded their sting, WAAY-31 wanted to see for themselves how bad the problem really was. On Friday, reporter Haley Baker and Internet producer/photographer Brett Haas went to the overlook, set up a camera and observed the public sexual behavior.
While there, they witnessed almost a dozen men come to the overlook and specifically go to the pavilion. They documented on tape as many as five men having sex in the pavilion at the same time.
At one point after the men got through having sex, a young couple came to the overlook just minutes after this had taken place.
According to Baker and Haas, the men arrived at the overlook and without speaking a word would walk up to each other and perform sexual acts in plain view of anyone who might walk up.
One of the men spotted the camera after having sex and stole the tape from the camera.
Police caught and arrested the man on Triana Boulevard and charged him with theft of property.
Not only did they set up a situation where the men would think that their only option was to steal the tape, they then call the police to report the theft after they take a tape that was left unattended in a public park. That's some chutzpah; if you don't want your camera stolen don't leave it lying around a park at night.
But even more irresponsibly, this TV station took it upon themselves to upload the names, ages, cities, and mugshots of all the people suspected of participating in public sex there. (I use the word "suspected" because the police lie so much when it comes to capture-the-fag sex stings that we have no way of knowing what went on there. These journalists are obviously not objective bystanders either.)
How many people will lose their jobs, their housing, and their families because of this? How many people will be attacked or harassed because some jerk saw their mugshot on the website? How many suicides will this lead to?
If police must continue to conduct these stings, even though they know they do nothing, then the press should cover these stories responsibly. Cover the sting, describe what happened, but don't post names, addresses, or photos. There's no need and it's just setting others up to commit violence.
(h/t Towle Road)