Judge Slams Gay Sex Stings by Long Beach, CA Police: “The officers actually caused the crimes to occur.”

Long Beach Sex Sting

On Friday Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Halim Dhanidina strongly criticized the Long Beach Police Department’s practice of conducting sting operations against gay men cruising for sex saying the department’s tactics were tantamount to discrimination while invalidating the 2014 arrest of a gay man for lewd conduct and indecent exposure.

The man was ensnared by an undercover vice team that had set up a sting operation in a men’s bathroom at Recreation Park in Long Beach, CA on October 2014. After receiving what he believed to be flirtatious signals from an undercover detective the man was arrested for exposing himself, said Bruce Nickerson, his attorney.

Dhanidina said Long Beach’s vice tactics are discriminatory because the squad uses only male officers as undercover decoys in lewd conduct stings. Several officers who testified at an evidentiary hearing this month all said they had arrested only male suspects for lewd conduct while working as vice officers, the judge said.

The judge also agreed with Nickerson’s argument that the detective smiled and nodded at Moroney several times during their exchange, and Moroney had reason to believe the detective was making a sexual advance

The department “intentionally targeted men who engaged in homosexual sex,” Dhanidina said “The presence and tactics of the decoy officers actually caused the crimes to occur.”

Stephanie Loftin, who is also represented the arrested man, described Long Beach as one of the “last bastions” for using undercover decoy tactics to arrest gay men.

Scores of gay men have been forced to register as sex offenders in California after they were convicted of lewd conduct under similar circumstances, a practice that ruins lives and unfairly lumps such men in with convicted rapists and child molesters.

“Those officers and detectives aren’t saving lives,” said Jim Key, a spokesman for the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “They’re destroying them by branding innocent men as sex offenders.”

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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2 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    It’s difficult to believe that these tactics are still being used. I remember the police in Long Beach always being more homophobic than other parts of the county and had convinced myself that surely that had changed. Guess not.

  2. Paul M Smith says:

    Do you think that finally some law enforcement officials have come to realize that no crime would be committed had it not been the undercover police officer’s solicitous entrapment that aroused the young man’s interest to engage with him in sex?? Without the cop there to signal complicity and consummate the deal, the unsuspecting victim would have no reason to pull it out and expose it. Cruising is dangerous for that reason. Men cruising do not grab other men who show no interest in getting it on. Complicity in cops must also be taken in consideration in these cases.

What do you think?