There’s no shortage of discussion on the Driving While Black phenomenon, but News Hits has a new one for you: Walking While Gay. The ACLU and the Triangle Foundation settled a lawsuit against the City of Detroit over an “annoying persons” ordinance used to nab gay men in Rouge Park.
According to the Triangle Foundation, undercover police officers approached men in the park they thought to be gay and made sexual advances toward them. If the man showed interest, the foundation says, the police decoy would arrest him and impound his vehicle. Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation, says the process amounted to entrapment. “It’s an excellent example of a very specific kind of profiling,” he says. “I think (the Detroit Police Department) attitude through the whole operation is they didn’t really have to follow the law in pulling off this little escapade of theirs.” Montgomery says the foundation has more than 300 Rouge Park police reports related to the ordinance, but it’s impossible to guess how many men have been arrested “because so many men wouldn’t come forward.” The ACLU filed the lawsuit in December on behalf of the Triangle Foundation and six men arrested under the ordinance. The settlement calls for sensitivity training for the Sixth Precinct. The city must pay $170,000 in damages and attorney fees, and the records of the six men will be expunged.Sarah Klein is a Metro Times staff writer. E-mail her at [email protected]