Alex Blaze

Arrests Upheld in Palm Springs, but Who Won?

Filed By Alex Blaze | February 06, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: cruising sting, david dominguez, gay sex, palm springs, police, public sex, undercover

The judge in Palm Springs has ruled that charges won't be dismissed against the men arrested in a gay cruising sting palm-springs-police.jpg(the sting involved officers arranging a deal with prosecutors to ensure the men arrested would be put on a sex offender registry and making homophobic remarks, while ignoring public straight sex completely). Their authority was question, so of course the police have to whine even when they won:

The hearings also reinforced what many in the valley, including Palm Springs Police Officer Association President William Hutchinson, have warned about Warm Sands for months: "There are no winners in this situation."[...]

"Nobody won here. It's a shame that this is the way it turned out," said Sgt. Bryan Anderson, who spent much of his testimony clarifying his own "unprofessional" comments on tape. "People should have had our back, but never said anything."

Boo hoo hoo! It's so terrible when your arrests are upheld in court even though they were shady and your plan to get gays on the sex offender registry works, but people don't worship you afterwards.

The police do have a point, though, that this didn't go down the way they expected it to: the arrestees weren't supposed to exercise their due process rights; instead they were supposed to sign a confession, shut up, and hope it doesn't ruin their professional and personal lives.

Instead, a tape came out showing the police chief calling the men who cruised for gay sex a "bunch of filthy mother fuckers" and another officer made a joke about "cocksuckers," there was controversy and the chief resigned. It's reasonable to assume there was other language being used that wasn't caught on tape, since police officers to know their conduct is being recorded in police vehicles, so this is just some more whining:

"Somehow the Warm Sands arrests became totally distorted and an inappropriate comment was singled out as proof of department-wide discrimination," said Officer William Hutchinson, president of the Palm Springs Police Officers Association. "Voices of reason, years of cooperation with the LGBT community and decorated police service became casualties in this unnecessarily divisive affair."

Well, maybe there are folks in the "LGBT community" who think that all that "cooperation" was done with a yawn before the officer went back and told his frat bros that he had to go meet with the cocksuckers.

We honestly don't know what they're saying when no one's recording it, but what we do know is that the police department, for whatever reason, decided that a sting operation, instead of better lighting and uniformed officer visits to the area, was an appropriate way to address the problem. That sort of disproportionate response doesn't just come from no where, especially when public straight sex goes ignored:

Their testimony further revealed that Palm Springs police officers, despite saying they also had witnessed straight sex in public, have never arrested a man and woman for having sex in public -- or held a sting to curb straight sex in public -- where prostitution was not involved.

The officers probably watch for a while before telling straight people to move along. But what about getting female officers to try to tempt straight guys to take out their cocks behind a nightclub? Something tells me they could get a few arrests that way and get some straight dudes on the sex offender registry.

The other positive that came out of this story is that the sting operation was shut down. And even the judge questioned why the police had a sting operation for nonviolent behavior:

But Downing also questioned the wisdom of the sting.

The men arrested in the sting "were not a threat to society," Downing said, adding that the police resources arguably could have been better spent pursuing violent criminals.

It's just a bad idea to have a bunch of homophobes on a hair trigger secretly armed to the teeth with no real accountability for their bad behavior going into an area where men cruise. In New Jersey that resulted in someone's death. There's just no reason to have stings like these that put people at risk of violence, that ruin people's lives, and do little to nothing to curtail public sex.

But since the police feel like they lost this one it just goes to show that men arrested in these stings should exercise their due process rights each time. Just by making a stink, even if they lose, the men can show that there is a cost to these actions to the police department.

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Was the deal they were offered before and that they rejected just an agreement to plead guilty and in turn not be put in the sex offender registry? Because now that they lost it seems that they made a sacrifice that far outweigh the impact of a point they made.

Sure, the chief resigned-- with full benefits, and his underlings that said much worse kept their jobs with no consequence.

What did the losers get? An upcoming life of getting their doors egged and a bunch of dumb middle aged women prepared to protest their residence.

They haven't been sentenced, and the 2/2 article I linked says it's still on the table, even after the judge refused to dismiss the charges.

I thoguht the sex offender registry was for violent predators or those predators that targeted children.

When did it become a list of consenting adults? If gay men seeking concentual sex are put on it, doesn't it dilute the very nature of the registry?

When will a class action lawsuit come forth or at least public outrage because this action is making a list of gay men to prosecute. Those men that were impacted from this 'sting' should be removed from the list.
~end of story~

I'm amazed I have to point this out, but it's reasonable to always assume that having sex in a public place is illegal (I don't know of any exceptions, although there may be a few). If nothing else, there are laws against indecent exposure. If these men had just gone somewhere private, their consensual behavior would have been perfectly legal.

I don't think anyone saying what they did was legal or that they thought it was legal. Most of the criticism has been on the police's tactics.

...another thought, my dad and step-mother are repeat offenders for having sex in public. Usually at Burger King and all too often when they've taken me there for dinner.

They started doing this on my 18th birthday.

I'm eternally scared from this. I just can't eat BK at all... seriously, they need to be put on some registry its offensive!


Rick Sutton | February 6, 2011 3:35 PM

Are you scare,d or scarred? I seriously wonder. And, this is not funny.

We need to make this hurt Palm Springs. We need to get the word out that Palm Springs is predatory toward gay men. We need to ensure that gay travelers know that they are not safe in Palm Springs. This isn't to say that the city should condone public sex, but any community that will target gay people for it while giving straights a pass, ensuring that their transgression sticks with them forever, will surely be looking for other ways to target us.

Yes, and while you are at it, we also need to get upset about the black teenager who gets thrown in jail for drugs while the football captain son of some white politician gets to go free.

And in either case ... it's easier to just obey the law.

Or are we having too much fun playing victim? Talk about whining!

Why shouldn't we get upset at racism in the criminal justice system? Or is my Snark-dar just broken today?

No, Alex, we absolutely should seek fairness and justice instead of racism -- my point is that our law enforcement and justice systems have many, many flaws that are unfair to many groups, and coming on like gay men having [illegal!] outdoor sex is the only group being victimized is just plain unrealistic and dishonest.

I am not saying we don't deserve fair treatment, I am trying to add some perspective to the victimization histrionics appearing here.

Compare this to the injustice that Betsie Gallardo met with in Florida -- and my point is, there hardly is no comparison.

P.S. And I do hope these men can keep their names off the sex offender registry -- I agree that would be harsh, and I hope the justice system does render at least that level of fairness.

Om Kalthoum | February 6, 2011 3:58 PM
[Public defender Roger] Tansey said prosecutors charged the men with indecent exposure, an accusation usually reserved for flashing and other predatory acts on unwilling victims, instead of lewd and lascivious behavior. A indecent exposure conviction requires defendants to register for life as sex offenders.

Thats what the sex offender registry was started for.....but is has become something all gether you know there are children as young as 8 years old on the registry...there are streakers, skinny dippers, teenagers that got caught having sex...teen that send nude photos to each other, drunks peeing in a alley. and one of my favorites the dreaded mother beast feeding in public....these are the terrible crimes that have put so many on the registry as this story point out....
You want to see how ridiculous this has gotten go to they have fact there on what i going on with the regitry that will blow your mind...even a little 3 year old was arrested and maybe put on the registry for life because he lifted a woman skirt and looked under it....lets get real this 3 year old is a sex offenders
Where is this country going

Brad Bailey | February 6, 2011 7:37 PM

Photos of the convicted men will be plastered on every state and national sex offender list for all to see for the rest of their lives. They will never be allowed to live within so many yards of any grade school, middle school, high school or church anywhere in the country. They will have to register with the police anytime and anywhere they move. And everyone in the community they move to will be notified of such by either the police or local tv news channels.

Does anyone really think this punishment befits the crime? Not even convicted prostitutes receive such treatment.

Tony Soprano | February 7, 2011 1:04 AM

> "It's a bad idea to have a bunch of homophobes on a hair trigger secretly armed to the teeth with no real accountability for their bad behavior ... In NJ that resulted in someone's death. ... it just goes to show that men arrested in these stings should exercise their due process rights ... Just by making a stink ... the men can show there is a cost to these actions to the PD".

Palm Springs and New Jersey both deny citizens - ESPECIALLY LGBT - the Right to carry any weapon, while their government thugs can and do. Here you see the results.

You can exercise your due-process Rights all you want. If these LGBT citizens had a gun in the first place, the PD thugs would have found out just how much their actions would have cost them ...

[Full disclosure: I support the RIGHT of our LGBTQQIAAP community to purchase/own/carry - or not - any item they believe will help protect them againt violence and thugs. I do not own, nor do I represent, any specific self-defense group, nor to I endorse any use of force or violence unless one is in imminent danger.]