I've been posting about these two gay cruising sting operations a lot because they're both particularly vicious, the one in Palm Springs and the other in Essex County. And there have been developments in both.
In Palm Springs, the cruising sting was specifically designed to get men to perform acts that would get them on a sex offender registry even after they'd been goaded into committing arrestable offenses. The police chief, who previously denied making anti-gay comments during one of the stings but apologized this week for making those comments, has resigned over the controversy.
And good riddance. A homophobe like that, who knows what he'd do if he had power. He could hatch a scheme with the prosecutor's office to goad men who cruise for sex who've already committed arrestable offenses into doing exactly what it takes to be put on a sex offender registry. Oh, wait.
I've also been wanting to know exactly what the anti-gay comments were that were made since the local news has consistently refused to print the word opting to just say that an "anti-gay slur" was used (while the DA's office insists that it wasn't homophobic, just nasty). A local TV station put the court documents online and we can see what the word was. My money was on "fag," but anyone who guessed "cocksuckers" or "filthy motherfuckers" was right:
In addition to testimony discussed below, it was found at the June hearings that a PSPD officer referred to the Defendants as "cocksuckers." According to a citizen's complaint filed by several unnamed PSPD officers, the officer making this anti-gay slur did so in response to comments made by the Chief of Police, David Dominguez. It is alleged that Chief Dominguez referred to the Defendants as "filthy motherfuckers," thereby creating a discriminatory environment conducive to anti-gay slurs. See Citizen's Complaint Concerning Chief of Police Dominguez, a true and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit B and incorporated herein by reference.
A local activist points out the obvious:
"Every time you lift up the rug, you find another body,"
Indeed, if the media ever bothered to investigate these cruising stings instead of gleefully running stories about them while posting pictures, addresses, and names of everyone arrested, they'd find that there's plenty of scandal going on here. When a police department decides to put so much of its time and resources into stopping gay sex and decides to use techniques that should be reserved for real criminals (instead of sending an officer in uniform to walk through an area a few times if they think there's a problem), then there are usually other things going on in that department worth investigating.
On the other side of the country, the Gay City News has been doing a good job keeping up with the Dean Gaymon investigation. Last year a police officer in a cruising sting killed someone and then made up a rather unbelievable story about what had happened. While the county attorney jumped to defend the officer well before all the facts were out and the state attorney general's office said that was just dandy, it turns out that this officer also has a history of violence against gay men:
While information that identifies the defendants or undercover officers was redacted, Esposito's name was not blacked out in a July 22, 2009 record. In that case, Esposito arrested a 41-year-old man for criminal sexual contact, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault on a police officer in South Mountain Reservation.
According to the report, the man walked up to Esposito and "reached out with his right hand and pulled my penis through my pants while he stated 'nice.'" This occurred without any conversation or prompting. The man pushed Esposito and fled when the detective identified himself, according to the official account. When caught, the man punched Esposito in the chest.
On August 18, 2009, a 48-year-old man was charged with criminal sexual contact, resisting arrest, and aggravated assault on a police officer in South Mountain Reservation after he "began to rub his penis through his pants with his right hand while he sat on a log and groaned," without prompting, in front of an undercover officer. At his arrest, that man allegedly fought with police and was sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray.
The following day, August 19, also in South Mountain Reservation, a 39-year-old man faced the same charges as well as obstruction after he "walked up from behind me and pinched my left buttocks and then reached around and grabbed my genitals and penis while he made a groaning sound," the report said. No conversation preceded that action. He fled when the undercover announced himself and then allegedly fought with police. He was sprayed "in the face" with pepper spray.
While names were redacted in the August 18 and 19 reports, a portion of the text is identical to that in the July 22 report. Other reports that were written at about the same time used different text, suggesting that individual officers have their own standard report language.
Of course, it's entirely possible that gay men just randomly try to rape Esposito while he patrols the woods in plainclothes but don't do it to anyone else. Too bad the county attorney has already shown he isn't one to conduct an in-depth investigation before making judgments.