Alex Blaze

Police exonerate selves in report on entrapment of gay men

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 02, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: blue door, investigation, LGBT, New York, prostitution, sex sting

Two years ago the police performed some incredibly sketchy prostitution stings in porn shops and video stores in New Yorkfalse-arrest-rally-nyc.jpg in which an undercover agent flirted with a man, proposed consensual sex, and then offered money. If the men didn't explicitly refuse and walk away, they were arrested. Five of the six shops where these stings were performed were then sued by the city for nuisance abatement in order to shut them down, citing the prostitution arrests as a sign that they were breaking the law.

Now, two years later, the police have investigated the police's actions and concluded that the police acted lawfully. Obviously, that settles the matter, since people can generally judge the legality of their own actions just fine and there's no need to bring outsiders into the matter. That's the principle our whole legal system is based on and why trials for criminals in the US are so easy; the prosecutor asks the accused, "Did you do it?" If the accused says, "No," then she goes free. If she says, "Yes," then she's asked, "Then what should we do about it?" Americans have found that the honor system works just fine for people who break the law.

Oh, wait, no, it's only the police who determine for themselves if they followed the law while everyone else has to go through one of the most punishing legal systems in the world and leave their fate in the hands of others.

Gay City News says the police investigation of the arrests involved one interview of a gay man who was arrested and quite a few interviews with the police officers involved. It concluded:

No misconduct occurred by members of Manhattan South Vice but that better training and tactics should be used to avoid possible entrapment defenses that may arise from prostitution arrests.

Actually, they don't really have to worry about that, since the men were railroaded into guilty pleas as many are in these cases where they don't want their families, friends, or employers to find out that they were going to have anonymous sex with men. They're easy marks, really, since they mostly won't go through the trouble of defending themselves.

After the men found out that the mission wasn't to fight prostitution in these sex shops and that they weren't the victim an impossible-to-prove accident by the police but a carefully planned scheme to close certain businesses, six of the thirty have filed suits against the city. Hopefully that will get closer to the truth than this intra-departmental investigation.

Because, as the police officer in Memphis who held down Duanna Johnson while officer Bridges McRae beat her testified in court, the police are motivated more by their desire to protect their buddies than they are by truth and justice:

Swain said he initially lied to police internal affairs investigators in telling them that Johnson was the aggressor.

"I didn't want to be the police officer to be the rat or the snitch on another police officer," said Swain, who changed his account when he learned there was a videotape of the incident. "(Authorities) said if I tell the truth I would not be prosecuted."

That's more than Dean Gaymon got Essex County, New Jersey, where the prosecutor's office didn't even bother to investigate Gaymon's death before accepting the officer's unbelievable version of the truth.

The police can't police themselves, and this investigation in NYC proves nothing. We'll see how the lawsuits turn out.

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