Politics and Power

"Part of the allegation was arrests of gay men on the beach for lewd-and-lascivious behavior, and a lot of allegations of entrapment. There are apparently two cops over there that liked to pretend they're having oral sex, and they invite passers-by to join them. And if you pause to join the `fun,' you get busted.

"I said to Huber, `Look, if you were a cop and you went out on the beach or in a parking lot and you found a boy and a girl making it in the car or in the sand, what would you do?' He looked at me. I said, `We both know what you'd do. You'd harass them, you'd hassle them, you'd embarrass the hell out of them, and you'd chase them away.' And I said, `But if you go to the same place and find two men doing it, or two women, what would you do? You'd arrest them.'

"The letter of the law is that if a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman are having sex on the beach, it's not legal. They don't arrest the man and woman, but they do arrest the men and they do arrest the women, and all we said to Huber is, `Why? Why the double standard? We don't read about a boy and a girl on their prom night who get arrested in their car for lewd-and-lascivious.'

"He looked at us in total surprise and said, `I never thought of it that way.' Which is true. Nine out of ten straights have never thought of it that way. Because we're not legitimate, we're not normal. I hold my lover's hand, it's a public misdemeanor.

"He also said, `We don't prosecute.' And I said to him, `How would you like to go through your life with an arrest on your record for lewd-and-lascivious, whether you get prosecuted or not?' If you ever try to get a job with the government and they run your criminal history, they're going to come up with a lewd-and-lascivious and you're dead in the water.

"When we went over the second time, with GUARD, Huber said he had been stressing to his officers that, `In your decisions to arrest, if you would not arrest a man and a woman, then don't arrest two men. But whatever you do, be consistent.' Now, what effect that's going to have, I don't know. But I can tell you the effect it's had on me. I'm talking to a guy who knows that South Beach is changing, and who wants the department to change with it. And I can work with a guy like that.

"We also confronted Huber about the Rapoport incident. Joel Rapoport and Freddy Rodriguez of [AIDS activist organization] ACT UP were out in July, late at night, putting up posters on South Beach, explicit posters advertising safe sex. And a cop came by and saw the posters and just went off the deep end (this is according to them, of course; I've got their side of the story), making references to little faggot clubs and this disgusting faggot stuff on the posters. She seized the posters and didn't arrest them, which is an absolute no-no.

"Joel called us up and complained about it, so I wrote a letter to Huber and said that it's not our point to defend their conduct; you're not supposed to put up posters in Miami Beach, it doesn't matter if you're advertising B'nai B'rith, or the White People's League, or safe sex. But no cop has the right to start mouthing off to a person about that person's sexual orientation or race or creed or color or political affiliation or anything else. I said, `For sure, if this involved an Afro-American or someone who was Jewish, you'd come down like that. And I expect the same thing.'

"Huber said the best way to get a handle on the whole thing is to have people report harassment to the department's Internal Affairs office. A lot of times an investigation's going to be inconclusive, a lot of times it's the cop's word against the victim's word. But Huber said IA does two things. The first is, there's nothing in the world that a cop hates more than an IA investigation. And the second is that if every gay or lesbian person that gets hassled by the cops reports it, the word is going to get out that if you start mouthing off to a gay person, you're going to wind up in an Internal Affairs investigation -- and it's going to stop. Unfortunately there's going to be a very difficult transition period, because we're going to be finding more and more incidents as people speak out. It makes the situation look worse and worse instead of better and better."

Part Two

In several ways, Greg Baldwin's own life got worse and worse before it got better. A graduate of Boston College, Baldwin served in Vietnam as a lieutenant, an army infantry platoon leader who earned an Army Commendation Medal, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, a chestful of shrapnel, and a bum knee. After attending law school at Cornell, he took a job in the organized-crime section of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked from 1974 until 1980. For the next two years Baldwin worked for Georgia Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn on the Senate Subcommittee on Investigation.

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