Last edited: February 14, 2005


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 didn’t offer many answers Friday as the Detroit City Council peppered him with questions about a police prostitution sting at Rouge Park on the city’s west side.

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 person?"

McGhee said he didn’t 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 precinct’s 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 prosecutor’s 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 that’s meant to deter obnoxious behavior such as swearing and harassment.

Contact AMBER ARELLANO at 313-222-6593 or

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