LAPD sued for using ‘decoys’ to arrest gay men


A class action lawsuit alleges the Los Angeles Police Department is violating the U.S. Constitution with its use of undercover decoys to arrest gay men for soliciting “nonmonetary intimate association with other men.”

The Courthouse News Service reported the filing of the federal suit on June 6.

Plaintiff Eric St. Mark Christie is seeking to represent a class of men “arrested for soliciting or engaging in lewd conduct by Los Angeles Police acting as decoys,” CNS reports.

Christie alleges that LAPD targets men “perceived to be interested in meeting, in public, men interested in nonmonetary intimate association with other men” and arrests them.

His complaint says the department’s “policy and custom” of using decoys in areas known for cruising violates constitutional guarantees of free speech, equal protection, and protection from search and seizure.

The complaint names as defendants the City of Los Angeles, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and four officers who arrested him in a park on May 6, 2011.

Christie says an undercover officer pretended to be interested in him, they had a short conversation and agreed to engage in consensual oral sex in a rest room stall. The undercover officer then signaled to three other officers to arrest him.

Christie, in the complaint, says he ran, initially afraid he was going to be mugged.

The “LAPD never arrest men by women decoy officers for nonmonetary sexual solicitations nor do they arrest women by male decoy officers for nonmonetary sexual solicitations,” the complaint states.

Criminal charges against Christie were dropped in April.

In his civil suit, he is seeking an injunction against the LAPD, damages for excessive force, discriminatory arrest, false arrest and conspiracy.

The LAPD is not commenting on the suit.

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