A class action lawsuit has been brought against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police for targeting gay men who use the restrooms at New York City’s main bus terminal.
The complaint accuses officers of making targeted arrests on the discriminatory basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation and to boost quality of life arrest statistics
The suit, filed Monday in Manhattan federal court, claims Port Authority police officers engage in discrimination by falsely arresting men perceived as gay at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on baseless charges including public lewdness and exposure.
The suit was filed by Winston & Strawn LLP and the Legal Aid Society. The plaintiffs are seeking a stop to the practice, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.
“The PAPD have continued to make such targeted arrests knowing or believing that most of those arrested will ultimately be forced to plead to lesser charges to avoid public embarrassment and humiliation, costly legal fees, and jail sentences, as well as reputational and professional harm associated with the false charges,” the suit explained
Cops spy on men who seems “gay or non-gender conforming” through the slats in the privacy dividers in the man’s bathroom and then lie and say that the men are touching themselves, according to the suit and plaintiff attorney Ross Kramer
“The use of police assets and resources in this unconstitutional and unconscionable way is particularly stunning in light of the world in which we live,” said Thomas Patrick Lane, partner with Winston & Strawn.
The specific QOL arrest initiative goes back to at least 2004, when Port Authority police arrested Alejandro Martinez, accusing him of masturbating in public. Martinez was found not guilty and was awarded “substantial damages,” but the police still continue the practice of arresting men for lewdness without probable cause, said Kramer.