Quizzed on Sting, Cop Evasive
City Council Seeks Answers after Gay Bias Is Alleged
Detroit Free Press,
July 7, 2001
By Amber Arellano
Free Press Staff Writer
DETROIT Detroit Police Inspector Curtis McGhee
didnt offer many answers Friday as the Detroit City Council peppered him
with questions about a police prostitution sting at Rouge Park on the citys
Gay activists told the council the ongoing sting operation is intended to
harass homosexual men and charge them exorbitant sums to reclaim vehicles
seized during solicitation arrests. They say dozens of men, usually gay, have
been charged with soliciting sex from police decoys when in most cases the men
did nothing but flirt or simply walk away.
Council members asked: How many men have actually been caught having sex or
soliciting prostitution? Why ticket someone for being an "annoying
McGhee said he didnt know.
"We have not arrested anyone who has not violated the law," said
McGhee, who is in charge of patrol services at the 6th (Plymouth) Precinct,
where Rouge Park is located. He added that the precincts conviction rates
on the sting are above 90 percent. He told the council he needed time to reply
to other questions.
"Oh, come on," responded Council member Maryann Mahaffey.
"It sounds to me as if persons are almost being framed," said
councilor Alberta Tinsley-Talabi.
Since February, officers with the 6th Precinct have arrested or ticketed
776 people in the crackdown, police said.
Dozens of people have had their cars impounded. Each costs at least $900 to
reclaim unless the suspect chooses to go to court and prevails. The county
prosecutors office can claim one-third of the redemption fees and
Prosecutor Michael Duggan has used hundreds of thousands of forfeiture dollars
this year to give his employees controversial raises.
Some of the gay men have been charged with being "an annoying
person," a misdemeanor violation of a 1964 city ordinance thats meant
to deter obnoxious behavior such as swearing and harassment.
Contact AMBER ARELLANO at 313-222-6593 or email@example.com.
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