Fifteen men are defending themselves against public sex charges stemming from a police sting operation at a Palm Springs, Calif., resort in 2009, The Desert Sun reports.
Local police say they arrested only those who approached them first, even though one officer admitted to simulating masturbation while standing near a pool. Sgt. Matt Beard said he wasn't instructed to do this, but he sought to mimic "what was going on around me" and "dispel any suspicion that I was an undercover officer."
Defense attorneys say video surveillance contradicts the officers' claims that the arrested men approached them first; they also argue that Palm Springs police officers have a bias against gay people, as heterosexual public sex often goes unprosecuted.