Showing posts with label Gay Victim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Victim. Show all posts

May 30, 2016

This Seductive Cop is Looking to Destroy a Man’s Life


Sitting in cars along the edge of the park, four Long Beach police officers waited for the right time to pounce.
The innocuous signal that spurred them to action came when they saw a middle-aged man close his laptop and head toward a public restroom known in the area as a place where men have sex with each other. One of the undercover officers followed him inside.
Within moments, police were leading the man away in handcuffs. His crime: exposing himself to the officer.
The 2014 arrest in Recreation Park marked another successful sting for the city’s vice squad. But the undercover operation, which was sharply criticized recently by a judge, also exemplifies a controversial, age-old police tactic that many of California’s largest law enforcement agencies have quietly abandoned in recent years amid mounting criticism and changing sexual attitudes.
In Los Angeles, Long Beach and other areas where undercover lewd conduct stings endure, police defend them as an important tool for catching people who are violating the law and for deterring others from trying to have sex in parks and other public areas used by families and children.
Gay-rights activists do not condone public sex but have long condemned the busts as a form of entrapment, saying they unfairly single out gay men, with sometimes devastating consequences. The issue has been debated for decades. But in recent years, critics of the stings have gained traction as public attitudes about homosexuality and gay rights have shifted.
Undercover officers, critics contend, often exchange flirtatious signals and make arrests of men who think their advances are welcome, when no one else is nearby to be offended. They say that the stings can ensnare men who hadn't otherwise been seeking sex and that they rarely, if ever, target straight people.
Under state law, people who are convicted of indecent exposure must register as sex offenders and face possible jail time. Some have lost their jobs or committed suicide.
“Nobody is going to defend lewd conduct, but there is a qualitative difference between sexual predators and people who engage in boorish behavior,” said Los Angeles County Assessor Jeffrey Prang, who is gay and a former special assistant in the Sheriff's Department who worked with its LGBT advisory council. “Criminalizing them isn’t really justice. You just want them to stop.”
Courts also have raised questions about the stings, invalidating a number of prosecutions in various parts of the state. In some cases, judges found no crime had occurred because the undercover officer conveyed sexual interest to the target and no one else was present to be offended by the lewd conduct. Last month, a Los Angeles County judge threw out the charges in one case stemming from Long Beach's 2014 operation, saying police were discriminating against gay men.
Many law enforcement agencies have stopped in response to lawsuits or after political backlash. The Times contacted police officials in San Jose, Anaheim, Glendale, San Francisco, Bakersfield, Beverly Hills and Laguna Beach, among other agencies. Representatives for each said their departments had not used such undercover stings in years.
These officials said they came to view the stings as ineffective or unnecessary after noticing a sharp drop-off in complaints about public sex during an age when men can easily find sexual partners through the Internet and dating apps such as Grindr.
Some cities have found alternative ways to tackle the problem of cruising — the act of searching for anonymous public sex. Departments will now post uniformed officers near cruising hotspots or improve lighting and trim trees and bushes in areas known for public sex.
“Bottom line is, there were much better things that the vice ... bureau should have been engaged in, namely sex trafficking and sexual exploitation,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Merrill Ladenheim, who heads the agency’s human trafficking task force. “We really refocused our efforts on those other crimes where we have a victim.”
LAPD officials say they have made a point of carrying out undercover operations less frequently in recent years. In 2007, the agency revamped its lewd conduct policy to tell officers that stings should be used only “as a last resort.”
But when alternative tactics fail, the department has no choice but to deploy decoy officers, said Capt. Andy Neiman, the LAPD’s chief spokesman. While lewd conduct complaints have dropped dramatically in recent years, Neiman said stings have been used to shut down persistent hotspots for gay cruising and lewd acts 11 times since 2014.
Complaints often come from people concerned about sex acts in public places, namely libraries and residential streets, where children could stumble upon people engaged in a lewd act, Neiman said. 
“You still have to enforce the law when you get complaints,” he said.
The use of undercover cops to target gay men in Southern California stretches back to the early 20th century, when gay sex was illegal, said Lillian Faderman, a historian and author of “Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians.”
The pioneers were W.H. Warren and B.C. Brown, “vice specialists” who loitered in public restrooms and other areas while carrying out so-called “purity campaigns” aimed at gay men in Long Beach and Los Angeles, Faderman wrote, adding that their methods served as a model for stings throughout Southern California.
The pair had no prior police training but were given police badges in both cities. They were paid for each arrest and offered their services to other major cities, she said.
In 1914, The Times reported on an operation in which the two helped arrest 31 men accused of engaging in gay sex at private clubs in Long Beach. Long Beach’s mayor and police chief awarded Warren and Brown a proclamation that said their work “rid the city of a dangerous class which threatened the morals of the youth of the community.”
Soon after the arrests, one of the men, a prominent banker and church officer, committed suicide by ingesting cyanide. The fear that other men would follow suit led the city to temporarily ban the sale of toxic substances, The Times reported.
In more recent decades, police agencies that employed the stings defended them as an effective way of responding to complaints about areas well-known for public hook-ups. Decoy operations are necessary to make arrests, officials said, because the crime of lewd conduct is a misdemeanor that requires officers to witness the conduct to justify an arrest.
“These are public parks, and public parks attract kids and families,” said Bakersfield Sgt. Gary Carruesco, whose department stopped conducting stings after a judge found the practice to be discriminatory in 2005. “Obviously, they can walk into a bathroom and witness things.”
West Hollywood Councilman John Duran, an attorney who has represented men in cruising cases for 30 years, said a typical client was a “deeply closeted gay or bisexual man who had hidden rendezvous in public places.” Many, he said, had low self-esteem and turned to cruising because they thought they were undeserving of intimacy.
But the LGBT movement, said Duran, who is gay, “has produced new generations of out and proud people who believe they can have healthy sexual encounters.” Growing public support of gay rights and the presence of openly gay officers in police departments has put pressure on agencies to stop using stings, he said.
Recent decoy operations have drawn fierce criticism.
Palm Springs police sparked outrage in 2009 when officers arrested 19 men in an undercover sting in a neighborhood known for gay resorts. Audio recordings of the operation caught a detective and the police chief making derogatory comments about the men who were arrested. The chief later resigned, and the department has not employed the tactic again, a police spokesman said.
In 2012, Manhattan Beach police were blasted for releasing the mugshots of men swept up in a lewd conduct sting. Police said at the time that local lifeguards had found graffiti of graphic sexual images on restroom walls, and holes drilled through stall partitions.
One man sued the city, alleging that he was falsely arrested and that his photograph and name were released to the media. The department stopped using decoys soon afterward, said Sgt. Paul Ford, supervisor of the agency’s detective bureau.
In Long Beach, gay-rights activists said they were troubled — and surprised — to see stings still being deployed in a city with a vibrant LGBT community and an openly gay mayor.
Long Beach police took more than two dozen men into custody during decoy operations from 2012 to 2014, according to Bruce Nickerson, a civil rights attorney.
One of those men was Rory Moroney, who was arrested in the Recreation Park sting in 2014.
On the day he was arrested, Moroney said he was using his laptop in the park to search for jobs. He knew the reputation of the men’s room, but he hadn’t gone there to cruise, he said. Moroney, 50, said he was washing his hands when he saw a man standing in a stall, thumbs hooked over his belt, smiling and nodding. He believed the undercover officer was flirting.
“They were targeting. That’s not right,” Moroney said. “They baited me. They trapped me.”
On April 29, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Halim Dhanidina sided with Moroney and tossed out the charges. The judge noted that the Long Beach police vice unit had conducted a series of stings spanning two years that used only male officers to arrest male suspects seeking sex with other men.
Dhanidina found that the stings were “indicative of animus toward homosexuals.” The judge also ruled that “the presence and tactics of the decoy officers actually caused the crimes to occur.”
 Long Beach police said they conduct decoy operations only in response to public complaints. Cmdr. Paul Lebaron, who oversees the city’s detective division, including the vice unit, said the department exhausts other tactics first before using stings as a last resort. Lebaron, who was not running vice operations when Moroney was arrested, said the agency has conducted only one lewd conduct sting since January 2015.
The city prosecutor’s office has not said if it will appeal the judge’s decision. Nickerson said he plans to argue in court that the charges against the 27 other men caught in the stings in 2013 and 2014 should be invalidated.
Mayor Robert Garcia said he hadn’t been aware of the stings and that the city is now reviewing its policies.
“I view Long Beach as a progressive place that believes in justice and dignity for everybody,” Garcia said. “So when I hear that something occurs that could be contrary to that, I’m alarmed.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Long Beach’s morality was in doubt.
So claimed the Los Angeles Times in numerous sensationalist 1914 stories about the arrests of 31 men allegedly tied to two private clubs in the city where gay men were said to cross dress and have sex with each other.
It was a racy scandal, the Times sneered, with details that were “unprintable” — and yet one that the newspaper could not get enough of.
Long Beach police, following the lead of undercover “vice specialists” W.H. Warren and B.C. Brown, arrested the men on so-called social vagrancy charges, collecting steep fines — $5,275 in all — or throwing in jail those who could not pay.
Nov. 19, 1914: Long Beach Recital of Shameless Men.
Nov. 19, 1914: Long Beach Recital of Shameless Men. (Los Angeles Times archive)
The newspaper's account of the "scandal" that enveloped the city offers a window into the virulently homophobic attitudes that prevailed a century ago, when gay sex was illegal and police pioneered the use of undercover stings to identify and prosecute gay people. The stories also underscore the role that The Times and other newspapers played in perpetuating the era's homophobia.
The Times printed the names of the arrested men and mocked its neighboring city over the discovery of underground gay social organizations — the 606 Club and 96 Club. At one point, the newspaper published a story with the dateline, “The Holy City of Long Beach.” 
But amid the sarcasm and public calls for purity, the sweep had devastating effects. One of the arrested men, a prominent Long Beach banker and church officer, killed himself by swallowing cyanide near the beach. In a note to his sister, he said he was innocent but “crazed by reading the paper this morning” in which his name had been published. Long Beach officials temporarily banned the sale of toxic substances afterward, fearful that others might follow suit.
Only one of the men, florist Herbert N. Lowe, fought the charges. His trial, the Times reported, was the talk of the town, with large crowds fighting for seats in the courtroom.
Nov. 15, 1914: Takes His Life Through Shame
Nov. 15, 1914: Takes His Life Through Shame (Los Angeles Times archive)
“Doubting Thomases of Long Beach who refused to believe the existence of a certain class of vice in that city, heard in court yesterday the bald stories of the officers who put in jail thirty-one men on the charge of vagrancy,” the Times wrote of Lowe’s trial, adding that “It was a dramatic and hideous recital, and startled the populace.”
Officers Brown and Warren — reportedly attractive men who had no prior police training but were given badges in Long Beach and Los Angeles to rid the cities of vice – were the star witnesses, saying they got $10 for each captured “social vagrant.”
At one point, according to Times reports on the testimony, Brown rented a cottage from Lowe and arranged for other officers to watch from a peephole and window as he baited Lowe to flirt with him. One evening, Brown lay down on his bed, expecting Lowe to arrive. As officers spied on the room, Lowe tried to become intimate with Brown but was interrupted by a noise: Someone peeking into the room slipped loudly on gravel outside. Several officers then rushed in to arrest Lowe.
But in the end, the jury acquitted Lowe after his attorney said the undercover officers’ hands were “dripping with the blood” of the man who killed himself. The Times’ headline read: “Jury Acquits in Six-O-Six...Stool-pigeons and Police Given No Credence,” referring to the undercover officers.
Dec. 12, 1914: Jury Acquits in Six-O-Six.
Dec. 12, 1914: Jury Acquits in Six-O-Six. (Los Angeles Times archive)
Even in that era, the newspapers were criticized for publishing the names of arrestees, especially after the suicide, by some members of the public and by local officials embarrassed by the arrests.
But the newspapers defended themselves with self-righteous outrage. In November 1914, The Times published an editorial from The Sacramento Bee — titled “An Unprejudiced Observer: Publicity is Needed and Then More Publicity” — saying that despite criticism, newspapers should not suppress “news concerning this most horrible of all filthy crimes.”
Of the man’s death by cyanide, the editorial stated: “His suicide in itself was a confession.”
In 1915, several months after the sting operation, one of the Long Beach vice officers, Warren, and a married woman with whom he was infatuated were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, The Times reported.
The newspaper described how Warren, who conducted the “now celebrated ‘social vagrant investigations,’” referred to himself as “the master of women.” He shot the victim when she refused his advances and then turned the gun on himself.  
The article mentions that Warren made a good living from arresting so-called social vagrants, sometimes more than $100 a week. Attributed to Warren’s “activity,” the Times said, was the death of a New York City actor he “exposed with a success that resulted in the man’s desperate leap from a window with a trunk strap around his throat.” 
                                                                   LA Times

February 3, 2015

No Victim No Crime- No Harm No Sin


                                                                            

Dennis Rünger posted the following piece on G+ and I think this is something to keep in mind when we say something is bad. As Dennis states below we need to find a victim and the harm that it does, otherwise how can it be bad? No victim no crime.

Social (Social Neuroscience, Organizational, EvPsych, etc.) -  
 
I find research on morality to be one of the most interesting areas in psychological science today. This NYT articles describes a series of studies showing that we possess a schema for immoral acts that includes not only the act itself but also 'slots' for the perpetrator and the victim. This means that we are motivated to look for, and find, victims of acts we consider immoral, even when there are none.

Here's an example from the text:
"In the 19th century ... masturbation was widely considered immoral — and harmful. According to Dr. Adam Clarke, a medical authority of the day, 'neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of Onanism.' But now that masturbation has lost its moral stigma, it no longer is seen to victimize anyone.”

 
This piece claims that we tend to invent victims for acts we consider immoral.  As the piece points out, Even ostensibly “victimless” behaviors like necrophilia were seen to involve injured parties.

People understand immorality though a universal template — a dyad of perpetrator and victim. Most immoral acts have a “complete” dyad, such as murder (murderer and murdered), theft (thief and thieved) and abuse (abuser and abused). But with many morally controversial acts, such as those involving adult pornography, prostitution, drugs or homosexuality, the victims seem less obvious or absent altogether.

When we encounter such an “incomplete” dyad, we tend to slot in a victim. Such victims can be friends, family, future generations or the soul of the perpetrator. Very often they are children, because of their vulnerability and sensitivity to suffering. It is no accident that moralists of all kinds beseech others to “think of the children.” ...

Perceptually speaking, if you see something as wrong, you almost certainly see it as harmful.

So when you are about to argue against something, for example, eating genetically modified food, on the grounds that it will hurt someone, take a second look. The science is on the side of GMOs being harmless. Of course, when someone argues that gay marriage will destroy the fabric of our society, remember that he too may be inventing a victim for something they consider wrong.

August 9, 2013

Vice Police in Dallas No Crime to Fight Propositions Gays for Arrest


policeLongtime Houston activist Ray Hill reports that the Houston Police Department arrested more than 20 men last week in a gay sex sting at Memorial Park, according to OutSmart Magazine:
Hill, who said he has been in contact with one of the men arrested, explained that eight to ten male vice officers dressed in Speedos and suggestive T-shirts, were along the jogging trail during daylight hours, attempting to beckon male joggers and walkers into the bushes. “[My source] tells me that one of their shirts had what resembled a chrome penis on the back, and some of the other T-shirts looked to be gay pride affiliated,” Hill said.
Hill tells OutSmart those who followed the officers into the bushes were arrested on charges of solicitation of prostitution, handcuffed and loaded into two vans parked nearby.
“We have a lesbian Mayor, a ‘gay-friendly’ police chief and a SCOTUS decision (Lawrence v Texas) finding the law against homosexual conduct unconstitutional, yet these men had to post bond, were held an illegally long period of time in Houston City Jail, they must hire lawyers, defend against the charges, some will lose their jobs and make their family lives confusing at best,” Hill wrote on Facebook. “Could someone mention this to the mayor on one of her campaign stops?”
Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, is up for re-election in November.
OutSmart reports that it’s not the first time HPD has conducted such a sting at Memorial Park, with two similar operations netting more than 30 arrests in 2006.
“The cops are going to say they were in uniform [during these arrests],” Hill told OutSmart. “To the vice officers, this is a sport-like activity to impose on perverts — and by ‘perverts,’ I mean ‘queers.’”

February 25, 2012

Ravi 19 Fights in Court For The Death of Gay Student Tyler Clementi

TRIAL

 The trial of a former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate's intimate liaison with another man opened Friday with questions about whether the defendant had a problem with gay people.

Facebook profile picture of Tyler Clementi[1]
Bornc. 1992
Buffalo, New YorkUS
DiedSeptember 22, 2010 (aged 18)
New York City, New York, US
Cause of deathSuicide by jumping
OccupationStudent
A prosecutor told jurors that Dharun Ravi, now 19, spied on roommate Tyler Clementi and acted maliciously "to deprive him of his dignity." Clementi, in an act that sparked a national conversation about bullying of young gays, committed suicide days after the alleged spying in September 2010.
Ravi's lawyer insisted his client isn't bigoted. "He may be stupid at times," defense attorney Steven Altman said in his opening statement. "He's an 18-year-old boy, but he's certainly not a criminal."
Early witnesses testified that Ravi expressed discomfort about having a gay roommate, but they didn't know him to have a problem with gay people generally.
His attitude matters in the trial because the 15 charges Ravi faces include bias intimidation, which can carry a 10-year prison sentence. To get a conviction on that charge, prosecutors must persuade jurors that Ravi acted out of bias against gays.
Ravi also is charged with invasion of privacy. And he is accused of trying to cover his tracks by taking measures including deleting a Twitter message and instructing a witness what to tell police. He is not charged with Clementi's death.
In her half-hour opening statement, First Assistant Middlesex County Prosecutor Julia McClure did not mention Clementi's suicide.
But she said that Ravi's actions were intended to victimize his roommate.
"They were planned to expose Tyler Clementi's sexual orientation and they were planned to expose Tyler Clementi's private sexual activity," she said.
Altman said his client saw only seconds' worth of images of Clementi and another man hugging.
"Dharun never intimidated anybody, you'll see that," Altman said. "He never transmitted any images. He never harassed his roommate, he never ridiculed his roommate, he never said anything bad about his roommate."
McClure tried to dispel that. "The defendant's acts were not a prank, they were not an accident and they were not a mistake," she said. "They were mean-spirited, they were malicious and they were criminal."
It wasn't just that he used his webcam to see what Clementi was up to, she said; he also posted on Twitter to tell others about it and later told them how they'd be able watch a second liaison.
McClure said Ravi began telling friends that he was unhappy he'd have a gay roommate soon after he received his Rutgers housing assignment in August 2010.
The first witness called by prosecutors was Austin Chung, a high school friend of Ravi's who testified that Ravi told him about seeing Clementi "making out with some dude" via webcam. On cross-examination, Chung, a student at Stevens Institute of Technology, said he didn't know Ravi to have a problem with gay people.
Three other witnesses, all Rutgers students, followed Chung on the stand.
Altman asked each if they knew Ravi to speak against gays. All said he didn't.
But one, Cassandra Cicco, said Ravi told her that he streamed the video to see whether Clementi was gay — as he suspected.
"He said he didn't have any problem with homosexuals and in fact he had a really good friend who was homosexual," Cicco said.
She said she and a group of a half-dozen students were shown a one-second snippet of streaming video. She wanted to see it, she said, out of curiosity.
She said that there were two men in the view and at least one had his shirt off.
"Someone pressed 'end' on the feed and it ended abruptly and we're like, that happened," she said.
Another student who lived in the dorm said Ravi told him he'd seen Clementi with another man on his webcam.
"It was pretty crazy and scandalous," Alvin Artha said. "He described the guy he invited over as older. And that was more the scandalous part than that he had invited another male."
The case was so well known that it took four days to seat a jury of 16 — including four alternates. Just before opening statements, one more juror was excused after telling the judge that he needed to change an answer he'd given in a questionnaire.
online.wsj.com    (pic:Wikepedia)

November 8, 2011

Update} Tyler Clementi, Student, Gay Who Killed Himself After Finding his Secret Sex Life Plastered all Over the Net


Update
Tyler Clementi was an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who killed himself in September 2010 after discovering that his roommate had secretly used a webcam to stream Mr. Clementi's romantic interlude with another man over the Internet.
Mr. Clementi’s suicide focused national attention on the victimization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth. Public figures including Ellen DeGeneres and President Obama spoke out about the tragedy; New Jersey legislators enacted the nation’s toughest law against bullying; and there were calls from many quarters for prosecutors to bring bias charges.
In January, New Jersey enacted the nation’s toughest law against bullying and harassment. And Rutgers responded in several ways. Among other things, it announced a plan to introduce gender-neutral housing — co-ed dorm rooms for gay, lesbian and transgender students who request it — and new staff training in suicide awareness.
In April 2011, a New Jersey grand jury indicted Mr. Clementi’s roommate,Dharun Ravi, on hate-crime charges.
Mr. Ravi and another student, Molly Wei, were initially charged with invasion of privacy. In accusing Mr. Ravi of acting with antigay motives, the indictment exposes him to a potential sentence of at least 5 to 10 years in prison if convicted, as opposed to the probation that would probably have resulted if Mr. Ravi were convicted only on the earlier counts.
The grand jury also charged Mr. Ravi with a cover-up. The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office said he had deleted a Twitter post that alerted others to watch a second encounter Mr. Clementi planned with the man and replaced it with a post “intended to mislead the investigation.” Prosecutors said Mr. Ravi had also tried to persuade witnesses not to testify.
Mr. Ravi was charged with additional counts of attempted invasion of privacy for trying to carry out a second live transmission. The authorities said he tried to use the camera a second time and boasted on Twitter that he had seen his roommate “making out with a dude.” That attempt was thwarted after Mr. Clementi found the camera aimed at his bed. 
After discovering that his roommate had spied on him, the authorities said, Mr. Clementi, an aspiring violinist from Ridgewood, N.J., jumped from the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22.
Ms. Wei, who lived in the same dormitory and was also charged with invasion of privacy, was not indicted. The prosecutor said that the case against her remained active but would not be presented to a grand jury “at this time,” suggesting that she could testify against Mr. Ravi.
Anonymous postings that appear to have come from Mr. Clementi, identified after his death in the forums of a gay chat site, show a student wrestling with his rising indignation over a breach of privacy and trying to figure out how best to respond.
Classmates say Mr. Clementi mostly kept to himself. Danielle Birnbohm, a freshman who lived across the hall from him in Davidson Hall, said that when a counselor asked how many students had known Mr. Clementi, only 3 students out of 50 raised their hands.
The Star-Ledger of Newark reported that Mr. Clementi posted a note on his Facebook page the day of his death: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.” Friends and strangers have turned the page into a memorial.

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