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New York Port Authority to Stop Undercover Public Bathroom Stings

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New York City’s main bus terminal will no longer use plainclothes officers to conduct sting operations targeting gay men in their terminal’s public bathrooms.As the result of a legal settlement entered into federal court on Tuesday and announced yesterday, the police department for the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey (PAPD) agreed to cease plainclothes patrols of bathrooms for lewdness or exposure, institute new LGBTQ+ sensitivity training, improve the civilian complain and officer discipline process, and designate a single-stall gender-neutral restroom at the main terminal.The case was brought by Cornell Holden and Miguel Mejia, who were represented by The Legal Aid Society and Winston & Strawn LLP.

The two men said they were falsely arrested for public lewdness at the main terminal’s public restrooms in 2014. Their lawsuit, brought in 2017, alleged disturbing practices by the PAPD.The lawsuit claimed plainclothes officers specifically targeted men they perceived as LGBTQ+ based upon appearance and would employ specific tactics to entice or entrap a response from those men.

Among the tactics noted in the lawsuit were standing at the next stall and staring at the man, attempting to look at the man’s hands or genitals, and the officer exposing his own genitals to the man.

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