Lawsuit: Gay Clevelanders Abused by Police
BY Winston Gieseke
February 02 2012 3:40 PM ET
A federal lawsuit filed by two men from Cleveland alleges that they were beaten by police officers, humiliated, and denied pants because they were gay.
Cleveland’s Fox 8 News reports that the men, Jonathan Simcox and Steven Ondo, were “subjected to derogatory name-calling and then hauled off to jail in their underwear, despite repeated requests to change clothes.”
The arrest last April stemmed from an incident that occurred a week earlier. The couple say they were confronted by a neighbor as they argued while walking home from a bar. The neighbor was an off-duty Cleveland policeman.
“He came out over shouting, saying, ‘Shut up, you’re disturbing the peace,’” Simcox told Fox 8. “I pushed to get past him, as soon as I did that he knocked me on the ground, and just started beating me, hitting me, standing over top of me, and punching me repeatedly.”
Even though police arrived and arrested Simcox and Ondo, they were later told no charges had been filed. A week later, they were awoken by “6 or 7 members of the SWAT/and or Warrant Team” who hauled the pair off to jail in their underwear on charges of assaulting a police officer.
Simcox says they were called “faggots” by the officers and were not permitted to get dressed because “faggots don’t deserve to wear pants in jail.”
The men were later found not guilty of the assault charge.
The lawsuit, filed by civil rights attorney David Malik, claims the couple’s constitutional rights were violated by the arrest and their treatment at the hands of the police officers.
Read the full story here.