A lawsuit against Metro’s government and several police officers claims police targeted and arrested a man because he’s gay.
The man claims he was taken in by a police sting operation targeting only homosexuals.
It started on the Web site Gay.com. A man, identified in the lawsuit only as John Doe, said he met someone through an online ad.
When he went to meet him in person, he said, Metro Police officers were waiting. He was shot three times by a taser, kicked and gouged in the eye, his attorney said.
Attorney John Herbison filed a federal lawsuit on John Doe’s behalf claiming the arrest was made without probable cause, was unreasonable and made with the use of excessive force.
Metro Police said they organized the online sting based on tips men were trading sex for drugs in chat rooms.
John Doe was arrested for the sale of a sex-enhancing drug. That case is pending, but Herbison said the method used by police was wrong.
He said his client was targeted by police simply because he’s gay. The lawsuit said similarly-situated heterosexual men have not been arrested or prosecuted.
"The decision to prosecute cases of this nature, we contend, was based on sexual orientation of the defendants," Herbison said.
Metro attorney Karl Dean said Police Chief Ronal Serpas and he have yet to review the lawsuit and declined to comment.
The chief made it clear at a town hall meeting with members of the gay community last year that police aren’t picking on them. "We’re not targeting people. We’re targeting drugs," he said. A jury will now decide that whether the online sting unfairly targeted a specific segment of the population.
John Doe is a closet homosexual and wants to keep his identity a secret.
His lawsuit names the city, Serpas and five officers as defendants.
He’s suing for unspecified damages.
John Doe faces charges in criminal court that stem from his arrest last year. A grand jury indicted him on drug and resisting arrest charges.