The editors of The Desert Sun, Palm Springs' daily paper, editorialized on Sunday....
After the long-running controversy over the “sex sting” in the Warm Sands area of Palm Springs, and allegations that an officer used a slur that is particularly offensive to the gay community, Palm Springs Police Chief David G. Dominguez last week announced that he would no longer use decoys in lewd conduct enforcement operations. The force will use more traditional methods such as more officers in marked police cars, warnings to visitors and lighting triggered by motion sensors.
As we've said before, public sex between people of any sexual persuasion must not be tolerated. That sort of reputation would hurt any tourist destination.
However, the buzz around this controversy could also be damaging. On Monday, a blog on the Seattle-based Stranger online newspaper carried the headline “Don't visit beautiful Palm Springs.” We hope this episode doesn't damage two of Palm Springs' biggest springtime events—the White Party, which caters to gay men, and the Dinah Shore Weekend, which caters to lesbians.
Yes, public sex must not be tolerated because, um, it just mussent. But there was no public sex, just institutional homophobia, police misconduct and entrapment:
[This] was not a case of the police arresting two men for having sex in public. There was no sex involved, just one “hunky” undercover cop who managed to get 24 men to expose themselves in public, according to The Bottom Line, a magazine that caters to the gay community.
It took this cop 20 minutes to get one guy to actually do it, the magazine said. As is the case with most police stings, many of the men were married.
According to the attorney who is representing several of these men, in the almost year since the sting the Palm Springs police have not been able to produce a written complaint about male public sex in the Warm Sands area. He also states flatly that the police never arrest heterosexuals for having sex in public. This is backed up by a letter a while back complaining that it took the police two hours to show up at Sunrise Park in Palm Springs to investigate reports of a heterosexual couple having graphic sex in daylight. The couple had long since disappeared by the time they arrived.
Here's the thing, Palm Springs: the men who were arrested in this bullshit "sting" operation—a hunky lone "decoy" cop in a tank top groping himself in public on the public's dime—are still facing charges that could land them on sex-offender registries for life. Your police chief has already said that there will be no more stings like this. Great. Now all you have to do is get your district attorney to drop the trumped-up, bullshit, discriminatory charges that have been made against these men. And then you won't be seeing headlines like "Don't Visit Beautiful Palm Springs" on our blog anymore. Until then...
Don't visit beautiful Palm Springs.