The sheriff ‘s office of East Baton Rouge has addressed all those anti-gay sting operations it undertook against at least a dozen men since 2011, claiming that it was for the public good before realizing that made them sound like the cast of Deliverance. Once it put away the banjo and the petroleum jelly, the office finally apologized, stating that it will no longer use the unconstitutional law to entrap any more lonely gay dudes.
The sheriff’s office had originally posted a rather smug reply to the bad publicity it had been receiving since news broke of the sting operation on its Facebook, only to take it down once metro councilman John Delgado read them the rights of private citizens. ThinkProgress, however, quoted the statement before it disappeared from the interwebs forever:
The Sheriff’s Office has not, nor will it ever, set out with the intent to target or embarrass any part of our law-abiding community. Our goal is to Protect and Serve the public. When we receive calls from the public about lewd activity near our children, we have to respond. Our park operations, conducted at the specific request of the BREC Park’s Ranger, were an attempt to deter or stop lewd activity occurring in the park near children. The deputies in the cases were acting in good faith using a statute that was still on the books of the Louisiana criminal code. [...]
We want to reiterate our intent in these cases. It was NEVER to target a certain segment of our population. It was only in response to parents, park officials and members of the public concerned that our parks were not safe. When we receive reports of public masturbation, sex and other lewd activity in a park where children are playing, me MUST take these concerns seriously. Our intent was honorable, our approach, however, is something we must evaluate and change. The Sheriff’s Office is not concerned with what consenting adults do in private residences. We are concerned with what is going on in public, especially a public place frequented by children.
John Delgado was NOT having any of this. Delgado took the office to task, demanding an apology to the men who were arrested and calling the sheriff’s office out for using children as a pawn in their game of anti-sodomy chess.
“The newspaper article makes it quite clear that nothing of the sort occurred in these 12 arrests. These men were arrested even though they were innocent of any crime,” Delgado said in an email to the office, obtained by The Advocate.
Delgado also reprimanded the office for attempting to enforce Louisiana’s anti-sodomy law, which was declared unconstitutional and unenforceable 10 years ago thanks to Lawrence v. Texas. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” Delgado said. “Doesn’t your office tell people that all the time?”
Buuuuuurrrrrnnnn. Having received the message loud and queer, the sheriff’s office released this official statement:
The Sheriff’s office apologizes that the way these investigations were handled made it appear that we were targeting the gay community. That was not our intent. The Sheriff’s Office also apologizes to anyone that was unintentionally harmed or offended by the actions of our investigations. While sections of La. R.S. 14:89, Crimes Against Nature, have not been removed from the Louisiana law code, they have been deemed unenforceable and unconstitutional. The Sheriff’s Office will not use these unconstitutional sections of the law in future cases. We are committed to working with all branches of our government, as well as the LGBT community, to find acceptable ways to keep our community safe.
Well, that’s settled. Now the streets are safe for cruising once again. Pardon us while we visit the East Baton Rouge M4M Missed Connections Craigslist page.