Alex Blaze

Charges Dropped in Dallas Bathhouse Raid

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 20, 2011 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: bathhouse, LGBT, LGBT people, michael lowe, police brutality, police dallas, raid

In October I posted on a bathhouse raid in Dallas that resulted in eleven arrests for "public lewdness," "indecent exposure," and one with "interfering with police." dallas-police.jpgThe county was going to argue that a bathhouse with membership and everything was, in fact, a public space because the public can enter. I think that's a fairly asinine argument; moreover, from a policy perspective, don't we want gay sex to happen in a building made for it? I keep on hearing about how cities are worried about unsupervised children going to parts of public parks at night where guys cruise, so keeping a gated alternative open would seem like a good idea.

Anyway, charges were dropped against seven of the men and the other charges are expected to be dropped:

DPD's vice unit has said it conducted the raid, which made national news and was the first at a gay bathhouse in Dallas in recent memory, in response to a citizen complaint.

"Their only concern is, can we even prove these cases? And I don't believe that they think they can," [defense attorney Michael] Lowe said. "If we had trials on all these cases, it would be 10 not guiltys in a row."

If a prosecutor has to actually argue that a bathhouse is a public space and that the men were, in fact, "reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed," these arrests are a waste of time. But that's not the point - the idea was that the men would be railroaded into signing confessions without consulting attorneys. If the police tell you that a private club is legally a public space, and if you agree to sign a paper and pay a fine you won't have to do prison time, it's easy to just sign it and hope that the whole thing will go away.

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Did they ever identify if anyone actually complained or was that faked like normal?