John M. Becker

Louisiana Police Arresting Men for Consensual Sex, Again

Filed By John M. Becker | February 19, 2015 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sodomy, sodomy ban, sodomy law, unconstitutional laws

baton-rouge-police.jpgRemember back in 2013, when sheriff's deputies in the Louisiana parish (county) of East Baton Rouge gained national notoriety for entrapping and arresting gay men for agreeing to have sex (at a private home with an undercover officer) -- despite the fact that the state's unconstitutional sodomy law was struck down by the Supreme Court's 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling?

Well guess what: Louisiana police are at it again. Seriously.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports:

The arrests happened Thursday just after 2 a.m., when a Baton Rouge police officer was on patrol in Forest Community Park and found two men having sex in the backseat of a car, according to arrest reports. The men were in the park after hours, the reports say.

Both men, a 33-year-old and a 25-year-old, were booked into Parish Prison on counts of trespassing in a BREC Park and crimes against nature. One of the men was still in Parish Prison as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, booking records show.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said a district judge threw out the crimes against nature count after finding there was no probable cause. The police department also recognized the mistake and had planned to drop the charges.

"The officers made a mistake," Dunnam said. "The chief wants to send his apologies to those individuals for making that mistake and has contacted supervisors to make sure this doesn't happen again."

The department plans to go forward with the counts of trespassing in the park, Dunnam said.

More, after the break.

The Advocate adds that the unconstitutional arrests prompted Carl Dabadie, the Baton Rouge chief of police, to issue a memo to the entire department "[reminding] officers not to arrest people using that [sodomy] statute."

But -- to borrow a phrase from Equality Louisiana coalition manager Bruce Parker -- it is simply beyond comprehension that anyone in the Baton Rouge Police Department could be unaware of the fact that gay sex is no longer an arrestable offense in Louisiana, especially after the 2013 scandal. No, this isn't about sheriff's deputies being ignorant about the law. This is about singling out gay men for public humiliation and ridicule, plain and simple.

louisiana_map.jpgLast year, lawmakers in the Pelican State had a chance to repeal the state's unconstitutional and unenforceable sodomy law (which, again, had already been null and void for over a decade). Democratic state representative Patricia Haynes Smith introduced a repeal measure in the Louisiana House of Representatives in direct response to the outrageously bigoted and blatantly illegal arrests in East Baton Rouge.

But Rep. Smith's proposal was overwhelmingly defeated in a vote of 66-27. The Louisiana House of Representatives planted their flag firmly on the wrong side of history, and even though it cannot be enforced, the state's unconstitutional "crime against nature" law remains on the books.

That vote -- and last week's arrests -- make it abundantly clear that Louisiana just loves institutionalized homophobia too much to let it go.

Shame.

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