The gay community in Manhattan are denouncing a new campaign by the New York Police Department targeting the gay community and adult video stores. Men like Robert Pinter, 53, say that they were enticed by offers of consensual sex in the store (perfectly legal) and were then told on the way to their car that the man wanted to give them some money afterward — followed immediately with an arrest. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has denounced the arrests as abusive.
Pinter’s arrest came in October at the Blue Door Video store in the East Village. Here is how he described it to the media: “I was approached by a handsome Asian guy who was about half my age,” Pinter recalled. “He asked whether I wanted to have sex. … On the way out, he very suddenly said to me, ‘Oh, I want to pay you $50.’” He was then allegedly hit by a swarm of arresting officers.
The NYPD has arrested 27 men for prostitution — that is twice the average number. Notably, these arrests were then used as a basis for seeking to close the stores, which have been the subject of complaints by local citizens. The use of the arrests to justify the closure adds to the suspicion that these may be manufactured violations. There is also the problem that the arrested individuals generally have no prostitution violations in their background. Two-thirds are 42 years old or older.
It is difficult to believe that New York has run out of serious crimes to investigate. There is obviously much room for a city council investigation into the motives and means for an operation of this size.
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