A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
Extraordinary, truly extraordinary. My reaction on read a report by South Flordia Gay News (SFGN) after a year long investigation of Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. According to SFGN, more than 600 arrests were made by Detectives Peter Lazar and his partner Vaniclov “Van” Garner, from 2005 to 2010.
SFGN reviewed more than 300 of those police reports starting with the year 2007, but PBSO acknowledged their operation began two years before that. Only a handful of the arrests – four to be exact — were between two men; the rest of them involved an undercover detective soliciting another man for sex using tactics that one lawyer called “disgusting” while another lawyer questioned the legality of the detectives’ behaviour.
The figures are staggering, the tactics despicable. These tactics were challenged in the UK by the brilliant reforming 60s Home Secretary Roy Jenkins. My forthcoming book on public sex will reveal government memos within the home office and minutes of meetings between Jenkins and the Met Police for the first time; minutes that document his battle to stop the police using agent provocateur tactics. Although they persisted in the UK for some time, this approach is largely unknown in the UK today.
The tactics are unethical, homophobic and crime-generating. By inducing men into committing crime, the police ensure a soaring crime rate which in turn results in more policing (using these tactics) which means more ‘crime’, more police and so on. It is bewildering to see these tactics alive and well in the USA. Six hundred arrests in five years for this offence is mind-blowing.
Read the story in full here, and South Florida Gay News should be praised for this important investigation and report.