Calif. Man Sues City for False Arrest in Bathroom Gay Sex Sting
A Los Angeles man is suing the city of Manhattan Beach, located in southwestern LA County, for falsely arresting him for looking for gay sex in a bathroom sting and publicly humiliating him by posting his mug shot on the city’s website, CBS Los Angeles reports.
Charles Samuel Couch, 22, is suing the city’s police chief and five detectives, a lawsuit filed in federal court says.
Manhattan Beach police arrested 17 other men during the sting on March 9, 2012. Couch says he is an innocent victim and was not in the beach bathroom looking to hookup with other guys but was helping a boy with special needs. He told local news station KCAL9 that his arrest "was all very terrifying."
According to Couch, he was helping a 14-year-old boy with Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes low muscle tone, short stature, incomplete sexual development, cognitive disabilities and other issues. The lawsuit identifies the teen as "D.K." and says Couch waited for him to finish using the bathroom when undercover detective John Nasori went into the stall next to D.K. The teen said he was being stared at through a hole in the stall.
"The child bursts from the stall, runs up to my client and says ’There’s a man looking at me,’" Bruce Nickerson, Couch’s lawyer, told CBS Los Angeles.
Couch claims the undercover detective followed him and detained him with four other officers who were not wearing police uniforms. He added he was "knocked to the ground, I had my hands put behind my back. I had some men put their knees on the back of my knees so I couldn’t move my legs. They had me in a choke hold to subdue me."