Tag Archives: Cruising

New Mexico hopes ‘singing road’ will curb speeding

New Mexico transportation officials are hoping a “singing road” along historic Route 66 will curb speeding.

Tigress Productions is creating the road between Albuquerque and the mountain community of Tijeras for a new National Geographic Channel series dubbed “Crowd Control” that will debut in November.

The road uses a series of rumble strips to create music. The driver will hear the tune as long as the speed limit is obeyed.

There are only a few such “singing roads” in the world.

Aside from getting drivers to slow down, state Transportation Secretary Tom Church says the rumble strips will keep drowsy drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.

He says the goal of the experiment is to change driver behavior in a fun way by giving them a reward for obeying the speed limit.

Louisiana sheriff’s office arrests gay men under invalidated sodomy law

Although sex in public and solicitation of “unnatural carnal copulation” for money are illegal in Louisiana, neither element was part of these 12 cases, and most of the men were arrested after agreeing to have sex away from the park at a private residence, District Attorney Hillar Moore III told the newspaper.

Moore said, “From what I’ve seen of these cases, legally, we found no criminal violation.”

Metro Councilman John Delgado said Sheriff Sid Gautreaux owes an apology to the men arrested and the entire parish.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that a Texas sodomy law was invalid. Louisiana was among nine states which had such laws. Richard Ieyoub, then attorney general, said the high court’s ruling made Louisiana’s law unenforceable.

However, “crime against nature” remains part of Louisiana law, punishable by up to five years at hard labor and a $2,000 fine. The criminal code accessible through the Legislature’s website states that “Crime against nature is the unnatural carnal copulation by a human being with another of the same sex or opposite sex or with an animal.”

Gautreaux has told the Capital City Alliance, an LGBT group, that deputies “will no longer be enforcing this law until the courts or the legislature removes it.

The sheriff’s office sent a statement to the newspaper saying it “should have taken a different approach” to worries about park safety, the newspaper reported.

“We will consult with others in the legislative and judicial branches to see what can be done to remove this law from the criminal code that each deputy receives and to also find alternative ways to deter sexual and lewd activity from our parks,” it said.

The sheriff’s office said it only meant to respond to calls from parents, park officials and members of the public about safety concerns at parks.

“When we receive reports of public masturbation, sex and other lewd activity in a park where children are playing, we must take these concerns seriously,” the statement says. “Our intent was honorable. Our approach, however, is something we must evaluate and change.”

In an email to the sheriff’s office, Delgado wrote that its response on Sunday sensationalized the matter by using terms like “lewd conduct” and “public masturbation” and suggesting that children were present during the arrests.

“The newspaper article makes it quite clear that nothing of the sort occurred in these 12 arrests,” Delgado says. “These men were arrested even though they were innocent of any crime.”

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said the office has no record of being informed that the District Attorney’s Office would not pursue charges in the cases.

On the Web…

Criminal code: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/law.aspx?d=78695 

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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Anti-violence project issues cautions

The New York City Anti-Violence Project, headquarters for the national program, issued a warning about recent incidents of pick-up violence in the LGBT community.

According to the AVP, such crimes – harassment, physical violence, robbery – are the “least discussed forms of violence committed against LGBTQ communities.

To respond, the AVP offered a series of tips about staying safe:

• Have a safety plan. Let someone know your plans, such as who you’ll be with, an address of your meeting place, the phone number of the person you are meeting, and if your plans change. Brainstorm in advance people you feel comfortable sharing this information with, and ways that those people can support you.

• Meet a pick-up in a public place. Discuss what activities you are comfortable with and the ones that you are not.

• On bathrooms and other public spaces: Be aware that incidents can occur in these locations.  Be aware of others in the restroom, stay near the exit if possible, use single stall restrooms where available, and if you feel uncomfortable find a different restroom to use.

• Be aware of your surroundings. Locate establishments to seek help if you feel unsafe.

• Trust your instincts. If you feel threatened or unsafe at any point, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible. 

• You can say no:  No matter who initiates or how far you’ve gone, you can stop at any time for any reason.

• Use words to alert bystanders of what’s going on and to frighten (but not anger) an assailant.

• Move towards a “safer place,” like a more public space.

• Self defense. Use your body to defend yourself or get away from an assailant.

Leave a trail and use your tech. Program hotline information into your phone; let people around you know when you are leaving a place; text yourself or friends about where you’ll be or where you are; save messages on Facebook, MySpace, OKCupid, Grindr, etc.

Get Support.

If possible, consider medical attention after any incident; violence can create many physical and emotional issues.

Document an incident. Take photos of any injuries; keep records of emails, texts, calls.


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ACLU: Cops bothering gays in Kent County, Mich., parks

Gay rights activists in western Michigan say sheriff’s deputies have been unfairly targeting gay men in Kent County parks by striking up conversations with them while working undercover.

Nearly three dozen men were arrested in the parks in 2010 under Michigan’s soliciting law but many simply were talking or holding hands, critics told county commissioners this week.

“In these cases, it’s the officers who are making the approaches. It’s the officers who are doing the accosting and soliciting,” said Miriam Aukerman of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Sheriff Larry Stelma defended his deputies and said they’re simply trying to keep parks safe.

“This is sensationalizing and a distortion of what’s happening,” Stelma said. “We do not arrest anybody, male or female, for holding hands.”

Michigan law makes it illegal for someone to use a public place to invite another to commit a “lewd or immoral act.”

“If you look at the exact language of the statute, you could apply it to what happens in bars and restaurants in Kent County on any Friday or Saturday night,” Aukerman said. “We have concerns about laws that limit the behavior of consenting adults.”

She said there’s nothing illegal about flirting.

Kent County attorney Dan Ophoff said changes in how deputies deal with such situations are already in the works, although authorities believe past arrests complied with the law. He said some cases were dropped before getting to court.