Marla R. Stevens

Dear Scott,

Filed By Marla R. Stevens | September 21, 2006 4:31 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics, The Movement

Regarding your recent police detention for having the temerity to talk with another man in Broad Ripple Park:

What exactly was the complaint? If you'd wanted to sit in plain view of the others in that park and kiss and touch each other except for genitalia fondling, it was your right, you know.

Status is not probable cause.

Get the police report. Put it online here. Seek the help of an aggressive attorney who gets that this was outrageous.

This is hardly a rare and isolated incident.
* People in Indiana have been arrested for legal touching in a manner that could not have been seen by anyone -- constituting private behavior even though it occurred on public property. There have been court decisions in our favor on this.
* One fellow was arrested on an officer's lie for reading the Sunday paper at a picnic table, eating his McDonald's take-out breakfast, and not denying that he was gay.
* Another case involved a man exposing his penis standing facing a urinal -- the charge was public indecency. I couldn't help but wonder if the IPD and Marion County Prosecutor expected him to use the urinal by peeing his pants.
* One esteemed lobbyist on police issues in Indiana's statehouse was well known as a cop for masturbating while watching men have sex in the park, priding himself on his ability to time his ejaculation so that he got off in time to arrest those he was getting off watching before they had a chance to.
* Not that long ago, some Indianapolis City-County Councillors actively pushed to ban all gay people from city parks. The officer/lobbyist above beat one arrestee so badly the day of one public meeting on the subject that the fellow's jaw was broken in several places and his skull was fractured.

If the complainant was an obvious idiot, she should've been treated as such, with simple observation on the part of the officers establishing that there was nothing amiss if they couldn't figure out that she was an obvious idiot by speaking with her enough to leave you alone altogether. There was no cause to accost you demanding identification, much less hold you until you "checked out".

Even if you'd had a previous conviction for public indecency in a park, unless you were under probation condition or court order keeping you from such facilities, you had as much right as anyone to be where you were undisturbed.

Too many of us have internalized too much guilt about ourselves as sexual beings. It invariably surfaces in discussions about parks and such.

Remember, if you were hets, your public gropings would be considered cute, the places you did it would be iconographically nostalgic, with names like "Lover's Lane", and they'd celebrate it with cherry blossom petals falling gently to the ground to the tune of Etta James, calling it "Pleasantville" or, at the very least, the backseat of a '54 Chevy in "American Graffiti".

If they wanted to stop it, they would not hire (expensive) hunky plainclothes detectives to invade your private-in-erstwhile-public spaces nor persuade you to have sex in illegal ways when you might well have picked up someone and found some measure of privacy. They would not create special extra-punitive legislation that is unequally applied to you. They would not hold pre-election arrest sprees targeting you. They would not harass the private sexual venues that serve as alternatives to public behavior they claim they're trying to stop despite that they've not done any of the things that have been demonstrated to reduce its incidence.

Not only would they stop belittling you and your people and disrupting your attempts to create lawfully married relationships, creating more of why this is an issue to begin with, they would cut back the brush, put warning signage and (cheaper to hire) uniformed officers in places where there was activity of concern to keep it from happening instead of verbally and physically communicating that they were people who would not be offended by your entreaties then busting you when you took them up on their offers.

You are not having more public sex than they are. You're just being punished for it many times more than they are. And the press colludes. And it will end when you make it end.

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