Alex Blaze

Police continue to harass gay men for existing

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 11, 2008 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: New York City, police, prostitution

This is bullshit:

His arrest is just one of a number of improbable arrests that officers from the Manhattan South Vice Enforcement Squad made in Blue Door Video this year and in at least one other city porn shop in the past three years.

Blue Door was closed in June under the city nuisance abatement law after vice cops made ten prostitution arrests there in January and February. The criminal complaints in those arrests were filed as part of that lawsuit. In every case, it was police who first mentioned money.

Two men were a couple, one was 36 and the other was 43, who gave a Central Park West hotel as their address and appeared to be out-of-town visitors. The couple, the police alleged, agreed to be paid $20 each to have anal sex with an undercover cop.

More after.

Russell Novack, a senior staff attorney with Legal Aid who handles thousands of prostitution cases each year, said he has seen European gay men prosecuted for prostitution in Blue Door.

"I really don't think that European tourists are coming down to the Bowery to be prostitutes," Novack said. "The police send undercovers in there to solicit guys."

Another man, apparently a 19-year-old college student, traveled from Virginia to earn $40 to perform oral sex, if police are to be believed. Another man was 53 and traveled to Blue Door from California, though police records do not say what his fee was.

Like Pinter, all ten pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Their records will be sealed by mid-2010, so it will be as if the arrests never happened. Pleading to that lesser charge is the cheapest and fastest way to make the case disappear.

And the police get away with entrapping gay men.

While a large part of the queer community is focused on legal rights, the police continue to abuse the law just to fuck with us.

This isn't acceptable behavior. And there's nothing elected officials can/will do to fight this, since any disciplinary action against the police will have to come through the same biased enforcement mechanisms (judges or in-house police department disciplinary committees) that haven't done anything about this already.

But we've come to accept a certain amount of abuse-of-power and fudging the rules from police as long as it's not directed against activity those in power deem valuable.

We still have a long ways to go.

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It is not like we're not giving them the rope to hang us with or anything. If you don't want to get arrested, keep it zipped until you get home.

These folks did. The police arrested them on the way to go have sex in their houses with undercover officers, and those undercover officers offered to pay. Whether the gay men accepted the money or not, they were arrested.

Pleading guilty is the reason it continues. No sympathy from me. We cannot attack the wrongdoing of police depts. if you plead guilty and admit the wrong yourself. It is waste of my time to even dwell on people who plead guilty. Who are the accused demanding trials and what are the dates? That is the only way this conduct that you are accusing the police of can be confronted. THE ONLY WAY!!!!!

Reformed Ascetic | November 11, 2008 8:29 PM

Put in this position, I think a lot, if not most, people would feel the best thing they could do was to plead out.

People don't plead out because of laziness but because the other consequences can be prohibitively harsh.

Who cares what the reality is Reformed Ascetic. That mentality creates unwarranted and wanton corruption. I don't want to hear it. I know your rationale, your justification and so do the police and prosecutors who use your rhetoric all the way to the bank. Is it easier for all of us to be housing inmates who do not deserve to be incarcerated as well?

I've been to the Blue Door only once.

I did not make any money.

Reformed Ascetic | November 12, 2008 12:49 AM

I don't know whether congratulations or condolences are in order Father Tony.

On top of all that: Twenty Bucks?!? That's a ridiculously low price. I know that some folks can get desperate, but it's so clear that European tourists aren't in that camp.

When the cops are fishing for people with such a low price, why should they stop at monetary exchanges? I mean, what's next? Are they going to go after people who accept offers to buy breakfast the next morning or take them out to a fancy dinner?

Reformed Ascetic | November 12, 2008 7:22 AM

Thanks Tobi, I was wondering about the pricing schedule as well. What's $20 in Euros now? Sounds like someone could use some financial advising.