Questions and complaints are flying around Georgia police over their actions in a suspicious Grindr sex and drug sting.
According to Project Q Atlanta, the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office arrested nine men between the ages of 23 and 50 during a March 2 to March 4 sting. The men, who were all found through Grindr, were charged with several misdemeanors and felonies such as misdemeanor pandering, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, criminal attempt, obstruction, and use of a communication device to facilitate a felony. Even worse, these arrests were published in a local news source that used the men’s names and mugshots. Even several of the men’s employers were named in local news coverage.
But what specific offenses did these men allegedly commit? One man came forward to say that many of the police’s accusations are baseless and straight out hostile. That man, who chose to keep his identity withheld, gave screenshots of Grindr conversations between him and an undercover cop using the name “Charlie420.” In the conversation, Sgt. W. Dereck Johnson, under the fake account, initiated the conversation. The officer then offered to host a sexual encounter at a Quality Inn & Suites in Dawsonville.
According to screenshots, the man stated that he had marijuana and Johnson replied, “U share?” Johnson also offered to supply papers to smoke the drug.
“I want to get high and f***,” Johnson wrote.
“Nothing wrong with that,” the man replied.
While the screenshots show that the man never offered marijuana in exchange for sex, a warrant was ordered for the man’s arrest.
“[The suspect] did solicit SSGT D. Johnson to perform an act of prostitution in exchange for marijuana,” Johnson wrote in that warrant.
After initial reports condemned these nine men, the story is now shifting into questioning the police for the legitimacy of this sting.
“Bloody ridiculous! This is not guys hooking up in park bathrooms, or in the bushes!” wrote one social media user. “THIS IS ENTRAPMENT PURE AND SIMPLE!”
Gregory Nevins, and attorney with LGBTQ rights group Lambda Legal, also compared the Georgia sting to the lavender scare of the mid-to-late 1900s. Back then, being discovered as gay not only led to potential charges but also the defamation of one’s image. Often, identities were exposed and slandered, jobs were lost, friends and associates were non-present, and sometimes lives were lost. All the while, politicians and police in positions to protect went out of their way to harm.
“It does strike you as wow, these are the priorities of a different era that just missed out on the last 20 years,” Nevins said. “What’s going on in Dawson County is against the grain. Where does the protect and serve baseline actually come into this? Where is any appreciation for not over-incarcerating people who aren’t doing anything harmful and looking out for situations where real harm is going on? It’s a cataclysmic failure.”
Source: Project Q Atlanta