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Church State Issues

“Bathroom Cops” Arresting Men in Public Bathrooms

Oct 9, 2014

NY Times

“Bathroom Cops” Arresting Men in Public Bathrooms After “Shaking Off” When Done Urinating

Jesus, don't these police officers have any REAL criminals to hunt down????

I don't know if the pigs are arresting these people to make themselves look like heroes by bumping up their arrest numbers, or if they are making these arrests to raise revenue. I suspect it's both reasons.

Either way it's a waste of our tax dollars.

Once when I was in a men's restroom I was reading some graffiti that said "more then 2 shakes is jerking off". Sadly that's true and in New York City more then 2 shakes will get you thrown in prison for masturbating.


Lawyers Challenge Lewdness Arrests at Port Authority Bus Terminal

By JOSEPH GOLDSTEINOCT. 7, 2014

For some of the more than 100,000 travelers who use the Port Authority Bus Terminal each day, a second-floor men’s room is their first or last stop in New York City. The facilities are what you might expect: toilets, urinals, hand dryers.

But above the row of sinks, a posted sign offers an atypical note of caution: “Restrooms are patrolled by plain clothes officers.”

It is not an idle warning.

Port Authority police officers have arrested more than 60 people this year in the bus terminal on public lewdness charges, a sevenfold increase over the same period last year. Most of those arrested were accused of masturbating in the second-floor bathroom. According to court records, they were observed by plainclothes officers, who were often standing next to them at an adjacent urinal.

At least a dozen of those arrested are represented by the Legal Aid Society, whose lawyers say their clients — some of whom say they were merely urinating — were victims of aggressive and intrusive police tactics.

A sign for the men’s bathroom on the second floor of the bus terminal, where dozens of people have been arrested and charged with lewdness this year. Credit Bryan Thomas for The New York Times

The effort by the Port Authority police is part of a crackdown on quality-of-life crimes at the bus terminal.

The bathroom is hardly a hotbed of sexual activity. Capt. John Fitzpatrick, the Port Authority police commander who oversees the bus terminal, acknowledged that complaints about sexual behavior in the men’s room “are few and far between.”

Nonetheless, an average of two arrests on lewdness or exposure charges are made each week, leading to the puzzling, recurring sight of men being handcuffed as they leave the bathroom.

“Sometimes they are nicely dressed people,” said Dolma Tsering, 39, who sells hats and shawls from a kiosk near the men’s room. “I don’t know the reason.”

The Legal Aid Society argues that the police are overzealously enforcing laws against lewdness and exposure and, as a result, are arresting innocent men.

In a motion filed in August, a Legal Aid lawyer argued that the Port Authority’s interpretation of the law seemed to criminalize the use of public urinals.

“Surely, the use of a urinal in a public bathroom requires that man expose his unclothed penis,” wrote the lawyer, Caroline Glickler. The motion also noted that the urinals in question “are separated by partitions designed to enhance privacy” and the fact that her client, Cornell Holden, was standing at a urinal “indicates an attempt to have privacy.”

Mr. Holden, a 28-year-old baker, said he noticed that a bald man at the urinal next to him — who he later learned was a plainclothes police officer — was looking at him. A privacy divider, as well as a duffel bag slung over Mr. Holden’s shoulder, separated them.

“While I’m using the bathroom, he stepped back and kind of looks at me and then walks off,” Mr. Holden recalled. As he left, two officers approached him, asking what he had just been doing. “I said: ‘Nothing. I was using the bathroom,’ ” Mr. Holden said. “They pulled me aside, asked for my ID and then put handcuffs on me.”

Captain Fitzpatrick, the police commander, said that in cases where an arrest is made, officers have witnessed an act of public lewdness.

“They are not sidling up to somebody, trying to sneak a peek and misrepresenting what the person is doing,” the captain said. “There is no mistaking their behavior.”

In Mr. Holden’s case, the plainclothes officer, Michael Opromalla, filed an affidavit accusing Mr. Holden of rubbing himself in a manner “consistent with masturbation.”

“I was able to see the defendant do so while I was standing inside the public bathroom in a urinal adjacent to the urinal at which the defendant was standing,” the officer continued.

“I wasn’t committing a lewd act,” Mr. Holden said of his arrest, on May 12. “I was peeing in the beginning, but I was shaking off when the guy stepped back and looked at me.”

Mr. Holden said he wondered whether he had been targeted because the officer had assumed he was gay.

“I wore a leather jacket, fitted clothes. I guess that fits the description of a homosexual male,” he said. “I was like, O.K., although I’m gay, I wasn’t doing anything.”

Held at a police station inside the bus terminal, Mr. Holden said he overheard a police officer refer to the bald plainclothes officer as “the gay whisperer.”

Another man, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Miguel, said that while he urinated he also noticed a man, who he later learned was a police officer, watching him.

“You know how when you have a feeling someone is looking at you?” Miguel, 43, said of the episode, on July 9. “So I look over and see someone is smiling at me. It was like a smirk.” He described the man as stocky and wearing blue shorts.

Miguel said he “paid it no mind,” washed his hands and left the men’s room. Walking toward his bus to New Jersey, he was arrested. The officer kept saying, “Oh, you know what you did,” when Miguel asked why he had been arrested.

Miguel said he was not sure whether he had been targeted. “Anyone who would have gone next to that man, who would have stood in that particular urinal, would have gotten the rap that I got,” he said.

But Miguel wondered whether his appearance played a role. “The way I was dressed that day — shorts, tank top, I was with my gym bag — I wasn’t dressed in a way that someone would pay attention to me in a respectful way,” he said.

A third man, a 38-year-old Mexican immigrant who works in a supermarket, shared a similar account of his arrest on May 30. He said that while he was urinating, the man next to him gave him a look, smiled and left.

The man, who requested anonymity because he was embarrassed and wanted to put the ordeal behind him, agreed to a deal in which the charges would be dropped if he stayed out of trouble for six months.

Asked about the current crop of cases, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said in a statement that prosecutors have “offered the Legal Aid Society the opportunity to bring in any defendants who claim that they were arrested improperly to speak with us. They declined to do so. If they do, we will investigate their claims.” But Tina Luongo, a Legal Aid lawyer, said many of the men felt humiliated “and don’t want to be brought into law enforcement to be asked very personal questions.”

In the past, there has been some evidence that Port Authority officers patrolling the men’s room have arrested innocent people.

One lawsuit emerged from a 2003 arrest of a 64-year-old man who said he had been struggling to urinate when officers accused him of masturbating. Two months before the arrest, the man had had surgery for prostate cancer, leaving him mostly incontinent and probably unable to get an erection, according to a doctor’s letter. The suit has since been dropped.

In 2005, a federal jury found that the police regularly conducted sweeps “for the crime of public lewdness, without regard to probable cause,” as a federal court decision summarized the result. During that trial, which focused on a men’s room at a PATH station, officers testified that they arrested as many as 30 people for public lewdness in a single shift in the 1990s. The jury awarded $1.1 million to a man who had been arrested, although a judge reduced the amount.


Source

NYPD Cracks Down on Urinating in Port Authority Men’s Room

By Margaret Hartmann Follow @marghartmann

Be advised that the "broken windows" policy now extends to taking too long at the urinal. According to a service-y report from the New York Times, there's been a sevenfold increase in public-lewdness arrests in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, with police increasingly accusing people of masturbating in the second-floor men's room. The Legal Aid Society represents about a dozen of the 60 people arrested this year, and they say their clients were mostly just urinating, but an overzealous police officer decided they should pee faster.

Three of the accused say their arrests followed a similar pattern: A man, who they later learned was a plainclothes officer, watched them while using an adjacent urinal, gave them a strange look, then left the men's room. "So I look over and see someone is smiling at me. It was like a smirk," said Miguel, who was arrested in July and asked to be identified only by his first name. He was arrested outside the bathroom and claims the officer would only say, "Oh, you know what you did," when he asked why he was being taken into custody.

Captain John Fitzpatrick, the Port Authority police commander, insists arrests are only made when officers clearly witnessed an act of public lewdness. "They are not sidling up to somebody, trying to sneak a peek and misrepresenting what the person is doing," the captain said. "There is no mistaking their behavior."

While the Times reports, "The bathroom is hardly a hotbed of sexual activity," some believed they were targeted because they were gay. Cornell Holden, another defendant, said that after his arrest he heard a police officer refer to his plainclothes colleague as "the gay whisperer."

The gross bathroom in the back of the bus suddenly seems like a better option.


Source

NYPD Sued Again Over Homophobic Entrapment Stings

The NYPD has a gross history of entrapping gay men in what it considers to be sexual situations only to slap them with charges of public lewdness.

We reported an account of the disgusting practice in May, when the department settled with a man who came forward claiming that he had falsely arrested for — as the NYPD claims — trying to engage a plainclothes officer in a sex act. The man, like many others, claimed he did no such thing.

This week, the Times consulted three of at least 12 victims of the NYPD’s homophobic practices who are now suing the department over their “aggressive and intrusive police tactics.” Represented by the Legal Aid Society, they all claim they were accused of masturbating while peeing at urinals in the second-floor bathroom at the Port Authority bus terminal.

Though Port Authority police commander Capt. John Fitzpatrick says “the bathroom is hardly a hotbed of sexual activity” and that sexual complaints are “few and far between,” the NYPD has arrested at least 60 men for allegedly masturbating there this year alone.

According to the report, at least two arrests are made each week.

Cornell Holden, a 28-year-old baker, describes his experience being arrested in one of the regular stings:

Mr. Holden, a 28-year-old baker, said he noticed that a bald man at the urinal next to him — who he later learned was a plainclothes police officer — was looking at him. A privacy divider, as well as a duffel bag slung over Mr. Holden’s shoulder, separated them.

“While I’m using the bathroom, he stepped back and kind of looks at me and then walks off,” Mr. Holden recalled. As he left, two officers approached him, asking what he had just been doing. “I said: ‘Nothing. I was using the bathroom,’ ” Mr. Holden said. “They pulled me aside, asked for my ID and then put handcuffs on me.”

Holden suspects officers target men who “fit the description of a homosexual male,” and even says he heard a police officer refer to the plainclothes officer who arrested him as “the gay whisperer” during his arrest.

Another victim, identified as Miguel, also shared his account:

“You know how when you have a feeling someone is looking at you?” Miguel, 43, said of the episode, on July 9. “So I look over and see someone is smiling at me. It was like a smirk.” He described the man as stocky and wearing blue shorts.

Miguel said he “paid it no mind,” washed his hands and left the men’s room. Walking toward his bus to New Jersey, he was arrested. The officer kept saying, “Oh, you know what you did,” when Miguel asked why he had been arrested.

Miguel said he was not sure whether he had been targeted. “Anyone who would have gone next to that man, who would have stood in that particular urinal, would have gotten the rap that I got,” he said.

The fine, upstanding officers of the NYPD: protecting and serving New Yorkers since… well, we’ll let you know when that starts happening.


Source

“Bathroom Cops” Arresting Men in Public Bathrooms After “Shaking Off” When Done Urinating

By John Vibes on October 9, 2014

A string of recent complaints filed by alleged victims of wrongful arrest are bringing question to NYPD practices of arresting men in public restrooms. There are currently undercover cops posted up in public restrooms across New York City, waiting to catch sexual predators in the act.

However, according to dozens of alleged victims, average men are becoming entrapped by these undercover agents, when they have done nothing wrong. Many of the victims have claimed that after urinating, “shaking off” and zipping up their pants, they were accused of “simulating masturbation” in view of the police officer.

The New York Times recently reported that police have been standing in public restrooms and staring down everyone who passes through, while they use the urinals. If the person makes any movements that the officer does not approve of, they can be arrested for “lewdness” with no evidence aside from the testimony of the officer. Since police have been stationed in public bathrooms, lewdness arrests have increased 7-fold. In the past year alone, over 60 people were arrested in one bus terminal restroom, many of them for alleged “lewdness” in the bathroom stall.

Dozens of the people who have been arrested in this trap have sought legal representation from The Legal Aid Society and other independent sources. Many of these people reported that the police made them feel uncomfortable by staring at them while they used the restroom, and it seems that if anyone is guilty of lewdness it was actually the undercover officer.

It is not clear why undercover agents have been placed in these bathrooms to begin with, even Capt. John Fitzpatrick, the Port Authority police commander who oversees the bus terminal, admits that complaints of lewdness in public bathrooms are “few and far in between”.

Although, Fitzpatrick is still standing by the actions of his officers, claiming that the dozens of men who have now filed complaints were in fact being lewd in the restroom, otherwise, he says, they would not have been arrested.

“They are not sidling up to somebody, trying to sneak a peek and misrepresenting what the person is doing, there is no mistaking their behavior,” he said.

One man, accused of “simulating masturbation” says that he was simply “shaking off”, a near instinctual act that is not at all lewd or uncommon.

“I wasn’t committing a lewd act, I was peeing in the beginning, but I was shaking off when the guy stepped back and looked at me,” Mr. Holden, a 28-year-old baker, said of his police encounter.

After Holden walked out of the bathroom he was arrested by police and taken to jail. When Holden was being processed in the jail he overheard one of the other cops refer to his arresting officer as “the gay whisperer”. This was a fairly offensive comment for Holden, consider the fact that he is a gay man, and feels that may be the reason why he got arrested.

“I wore a leather jacket, fitted clothes. I guess that fits the description of a homosexual male, I was like, O.K., although I’m gay, I wasn’t doing anything,” he said.

Holden’s story is just one of dozens, and although there may be a few perverts in the bunch, it is safe to say that a vast majority of these people are innocent.

---

John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.