In Hollywood, FL, thirteen men were arrested after police conducted a sting operation at an adult entertainment store.
Two undercover officers entered the Pleasure Emporium due to reports of sex acts in the store. The police report states the officers each payed $25 to enter private rooms in the back of the store where they encountered two men participating in sex acts.
The attorney of one of the 13 arrested who accused the police of a cruising sting, Abbie Cuellar, told them.us that the officers allowed the men to complete the acts, including masturbation and oral sex, and then even leave the store before they were arrested.
“If they touched themselves for one second, then under the police department’s logic, wouldn’t that have been enough? It makes me feel like we’re back in the 60s and we’re in New York City, back when the bars were being raided,” said Cuellar.
Some of the men were outed when local media reported the story with mugshots and full names.
Miranda Grossman, Hollywood Police Spokesperson, said that the sting operation was a worthwhile use of taxpayer money, and the police’s stance was that the backroom of the store was a “public space.”
Cuellar refuted that assessment, stating that the paid entry and being inside an adult building meant it was a private space.
“Clearly, this was a private setting within a private setting—you would have to pay to get into it,” Cuellar told New Times. “It’s not in a residential neighborhood. There’s no danger a kid would ever walk past, even… I don’t understand the point of this arrest other than smearing and humiliating these men.”