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Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against San Jose Police Over Gay Sex Sting Operation

 

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the San Jose Police Department which accuses the department of singling out gay men during sting operations held in 2014 and 2015 at Columbus park. Police officers posed as decoys and solicited men they perceived to be gay to have sex with them.

The restroom has long been known as a gay cruising spot where men meet each other for sex.

Attorney Bruce Nickerson filed the suit accusing the SJPD of treating the men differently because of their sexual orientation and denying their constitutional rights.

Says Nickerson, the arrests should be thrown out “Because the decoy automatically makes every arrest invalid by generating in the mind of the defendant the reasonable belief that the decoy is interested and not likely to be offended.”

Nickerson also states that  that the department was unfairly targeting gay men for arrests and citations — for absurd charges such as “loitering near a bathroom with the intent to commit a lewd act.”

“It is the Gay equivalent of stopping Jim Crow laws. You want to know how many decoy arrests there were for male/female lewd conduct? Zero.” said Nickerson. 

San Jose police and prosecutors argue the cases deny claims of prejudice. SJPD spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia objects to even calling the operations “stings” because no overtime was used and the officers work their shifts in plainclothes anyway

“A lot of gay rights attorneys turn up their noses at what I do,” Nickerson said. “But there’s a reason I do these kinds of cases. Because worse than being fired because you’re gay is to be arrested for being gay. The most fundamental right is to be free of imprisonment.”

Last year, a Santa Clara County judge dismissed charges against six men arrested by San Jose police and criticized the department out for singling out gay men.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the 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 on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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