New York’s Port Authority cops are in hot water. On Monday, a lawsuit was filed accusing the department of targeting men they perceive as gay in restroom raids.
The lawsuit filed in Manhattan court alleges that the police officers used Port Authority Bus Terminal to arrest gay men for ‘bogus lewdness charges,’ NY Daily News reports.
Officers dressed in plain clothes allegedly pretend to use “urinals while staring at suspects over the small privacy dividers” in an attempt to engage their interest and make an arrest.
Plaintiffs of the lawsuit, Cornell Holden and Miguel Mejia, were arrested for lewdness charges on different occasions at the bus terminal in 2014. During Holden’s time in a holding cell for his arrest, the lawsuits claims he heard staff calling another officer the “gay whisperer.”
“Port Authority Police Department officers make such arrests knowing or believing that the majority of those arrested would ultimately be effectively forced to plead guilty to lesser charges such as disorderly conduct to avoid the public embarrassment and humiliation, potential jail sentences and fines, and potential reputational and professional harm associated with the false charges,” the lawsuit reads.
Since the plaintiffs’ arrests, all of their charges have been dropped. Holden and Mejia are now seeking damages and an end to the practice of targeting gay men in restrooms.