Appeals court finds for Palm Springs cops, not “filthy mother-f*ckers and c*cksuckers”
January 18th, 2013
Two years ago, the police in Palm Springs decided that they wanted to crack down on the “bunch of filthy mother-f*ckers” and “c*cksuckers” who frequent the Warm Sands area. So they set up a sting. They dressed attractive officers in tight clothes to give come-hither looks to the gay men going to the various spas.
And when a man approached, the officer would say, “show me what you got“. Some of those foolish enough to suppose that the police in gay-friendly Palm Springs would never engage in entrapment fell victim to the officer’s encouragement and were arrested for indecent exposure.
This did not go over well with the city’s residents and the Chief of Police resigned. But the Riverside County District Attorney, who answers to a larger much more conservative constituency wasn’t going to let the obvious entrapment and homophobic slurs stop him from prosecution. So rather than go for the mild “lewd acts”, he sought prosecution on “indecent exposure” charges, a criminal category designed to punish predatory acts on unwilling victims which requires the guilty party to register for life as a sex offender. And he was shocked, shocked!, when four of the victims didn’t just plead guilty in exchange for dropping the sex offender registration, like he requested.
And when they got to court, the judge wasn’t at all interested in the fact that the police regularly ignored heterosexual lewd acts and made no attempt to crack down on repeated complaints about heterosexual acts. Nor did he think it worth noting that there had been no complaints at all – none – about this “threat to public decency”. Instead he discovered that there was nothing at all discriminatory about the targeting of gay men – and only gay men – in sting operations.
So they appealed.
And on January 3rd, the appellate court agreed. (mydesert.com)
A three-judge panel concluded that “there is substantial evidence to support the trial court’s determination that the prosecution did not engage in invidious discrimination.”
“As unprofessional and inappropriate (as) the comments may be, they do not demonstrate discriminatory intent on the part of the Department,” the judges wrote in the ruling.
Which is, of course, absurd. There really is no question whatsoever that this was discrimination. Not to those who are open to even the possibility that gay people should be entitled to the same treatment by their government as straight people – which, it seems, does not include these judges.
Even the police force couldn’t muster up a statement of agreement.
“The Police Department respects the decision of the Riverside County Superior Court in this matter,” Chief Al Franz wrote in an email. “We reached out to the community after those events transpired in an effort to regain the community trust that was lost. We will continue building upon the relationships with all of the citizens and businesses that we serve and are dedicated to moving forward.”
So, unless they fight on, these four men will be sex offenders, a danger to the safety of children, criminals. All because some police officers channeled the 70’s and decided to go show the faggots who is in charge.
But the vile truth is that it is perfectly legal to target gay people for discrimination in law enforcement. Laws directed at gay people, and only at gay people, are legal. We are not a protected class, there is no presumption of unconstitutionality in the behavior of federal, state, or municipal officers, and if the courts protect the police from the people (instead of the other way around), we have little recourse.
Which is why the cases before the Supreme Court right now, the DOMA3 case and the Prop 8 case, are so very important. Yes, they address marriage, but they really address a bigger issue: do the protections of the US Constitution also apply to gay people. And are laws (and relatedly behavior) which target gay people for abuse to be subjected to merely to “rational basis” rules or are the realities of millennia of oppression and hostility directed at the LGBT community to be recognized and some form of enhanced scrutiny applied when police and district attorneys and judges decide that heterosexuals deserve one type of treatment while reserving quite a different treatment for the “”.