The Port Authority Police in New York City seem to be creating (or recreating) ways to criminalize gay men and now they’re being called out with a lawsuit.
According to New York Daily News, the Port Authority Police Department is being sued for allegedly targeting gay men for bogus lewdness charges. According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court, plainclothes officers would enter a Port Authority Bus Terminal bathroom pretending to use the urinals. Then, they would stare at suspects over the small privacy dividers and “falsely (claim) that they were engaged in illegal conduct,” arresting the suspect once they leave the bathroom.
The suit claims that officers targeted men “on the discriminatory basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation, actual or perceived gender expression, and/or to boost ‘quality of life’ arrest statistics.” The privacy walls of the urinals should block wondering eyes “under any definition of normal circumstances.” Yet, officers will stare at their suspect and “in some cases, the officer will actually step back from the urinal in order to see around the privacy wall, in an effort to view the target’s hands and genitals,” said the lawsuit — which was filed by the Legal Aid Society and Winston & Strawn.
One plaintiff even testified that Port Authority cops called their arresting officer “the gay whisperer” after congratulating him on another arrest. Port Authority Police have yet to comment on the legal battle. We’ll keep you updated as the proceedings uncover new information.