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February 28, 2008

SFPD: Gay Sex = Basis for Crystal Meth Search Warrant
By Trevor

My trip to San Francisco turned out to dovetail beautifully for the monthly meeting of the SexPols, the sexuality discussion group that was spearheaded by Eric Rofes until his untimely death in June '06. Tonight, Michael Scarce presented his report that he delivered to the San Francisco Mayor's Citywide Task Force on Crystal Methamphetamine.

The data he collected for the report is shocking and *infuriating*! In particular, Scarce heard from many men that the SFPD Narcotics Division only needed evidence of men's sexual promiscuity as sufficient basis for obtaining a warrant for their arrest -- and as evidence to discredit them in a court of law. I'm going to quote at length here - because I think this research is SO IMPORTANT!

Late last year, a team of police officers entered the apartment of a gay male couple living at 19th and Castro Street, held them at gunpoint, and searched their home on the basis of a false and unsubstantiated allegation they were operating a meth lab in their residence. The bogus report was made by the couple's landlord and conspiring neighbor in an attempt to have them evicted from their rent-controlled apartment. Police were able to obtain a search warrant simply on the basis of observing a handful of men coming and going from the couple's residence in the course of a single evening.

After their arrest, the prosecutor for the San Francisco District Attorney attempted to bolster the charges against them by discrediting their character with allegations of sexual immorality, which included a neighbor's report that 'shirtless men' would sometimes sit outside on the steps leading to the men's front door.

The attorney also disclosed the couple had hosted sex parties in the privacy of their home as evidence of their criminal deviance, even though no complaints for noise or other neighborhood disturbances had ever been made... Furthermore, the couple's HIV positive serostatus was introduced in testimony, implying the men represented a threat to community public health, noting the relationship between methamphetamine and HIV transmission.

I find this information so troubling. The report documents numerous cases of the police brutality and more generally invasions of privacy by the SFPD's narcotics division. Of all of the reports, THIS one pisses me off the most:

In another case, a local gay man made a police report that his password for accessing a cruising website had been changed by a casual acquaintance, and his account was being used without his consent by the acquaintance...

SFPD officers informed the victim there was a special unit to assist gay men who had been victims of internet-related crime, despite having made public statements that they do not track or in any official capacity address internet-related crimes against gay men. Police agreed to pursue the matter in exchange for an unusual request: Upon regaining possession of the victim's account password, they would then use the account for undercover investigations of other web site members for a period of at least sixty days....

Officers used the man's account for two months on www.men4now.com, conducting drug-related surveillance of other members who indicated they 'party and play' in their profile. Police used the victim's existing screen name, description, and photos to gain trust in interacting and gathering information from other web site members who were already familiar with the victim's profile, had previously met the victim in person, had formed established relationships with the victim, and with whom the victim shared mutual friends and acquaintances.

I can't even put into words how DISGUSTING this kind of invasion / entrapment is -- it's infuriating. Shameful. Revolting. And funded by the PATRIOT ACT. Your tax dollars at work, folks.

You can -- and SHOULD -- read the rest of Michael's important report, here.

PERMALINK | Posted at 2:43 AM | Post a Comment (0)


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