STAR-TELEGRAM ARTICLE EXPOSES VICE SQUAD HOMOPHOBIA
"Vice officers say the homosexuals they arrest are creating a public nuisance," wrote John
MaKeig in a feature article about vice activity
as related to victimless crimes in the December
29, 1974, issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"It's gotten so bad in the last year that you
can stand on some of these corners for an hour,
say, and you'll get a few offers," one officer
was quoted as saying.
"Also," the story continues, "officers point
to the savage murders in Houston last year and
a few here and say homosexuals are not entirely
the peaceful persons many feel they are.
"Officers say that making such arrests intermittently is a way of making their presence
In the article, MaKeig reports on a typical arrest by Officer John Ladd, who "stood looking
like Jon Voight in a scent from 'Midnight Cowboy' waiting for his victim to be tempted e-
nough to approach him. After circling by five
or six times, a car stopped and Ladd got in.
"From 10:20 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. the three
vice units followed the car around north Fort
Worth . .. wondering all the while why the driver hadn't.. . done something overt enough to
justify Ladd arresting him.
"At 11:25 p.m., the radio in (Officer) Carter's car crackled out the message that Ladd
. had arrested the driver " when he had finally
made a move of a "homosexual nature."
"This just isn't your night, is it?" one of the
officers was quoted as saying to the man as he
was hauled off to jail.
Unitarian Minister Responds
to Star-Telegram Article
(Excerpts reprinted from an article in the
FIRST UNITARIAN ADVANCE with the
permission of the author, Rev. Walter Baese,
who at the time was pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Fort Worth)
The article ought to have aroused the indignation and concern of all, who, if they don't
understand the Bill of Rights nor the principles
underlying concepts of personal freedom and
individual rights, at least suspect there may be
something wrong with tax money used to support young plainclothes police officers standing
on street corners "looking like Jon Voight," as
the article referred to them, for hours on end
waiting for those terrible threats to public morals to pass them a number of times in their cars
and finally ask one if he wants a ride (with Ihe
intent admittedly of something other than simply giving them a ride, at least the hope). All
the while this little charade is being observed by
a second police officer in a darkened car who
a drawing in
has binoculars. Then, in what presumably is a
typical situation, the young officer may drive
around as much as an hour or more with the
man who has picked him up waiting (inviting)
the overt gesture that assures the arrest of this
dangerous deviant (since it may not be entirely
clear, I refer to the driver, not the vice officer).
One legitimately might wonder what the government is doing legislating laws concerning
matters of personal choice that it takes such
"trolling" to ferret out "offenders" and authorizing a considerable amount of taxpayers money to pay for the operation, particularly while
real crime rates soar: robberies, rape, not to
speak of other real and far-reaching crimes
against society such as those labeled "white collar." How curious it is that the stigma attached
to so many real crimes does not compare to
that which would fall on the man in the car
whose career is virtually over if it becomes
Could it be clearer than if one is approached,
he (or she) has only to say "no," or say nothing
at all. I remember years ago in Miami Beach
when a prostitute approached me and asked
how I'd like a good time! Apart from the obvious fact that she surely misjudged in my own
situation, I scarcely became unglued by this
"outrage"! And why should anyone who is not
terribly threatened (or tempted) already?
I do think that "street cruising" is an unattractive behavior, though I understand the motives of lonliness that might cause it. Or the
"It's got so bad in downtown
Fort Worth that a goodlooking
young vice cop can't stand on the
corner rubbing the bulging crotch
of his tight fitting pants for
more than an hour without getting
motive of those married men who most frequently engage in it who are fearful to be seen
at gay bars or other places where gays would be
together, thinking there is more of a risk in going there. That they sometimes are woefully
mistaken is sadly the case: for instance when
the hustler turns out to be a plainsclotl.es vice
But what percentage of homosexuals - and I
refer to those of us who are gay and know it
and within ourselves live comfortably, or as
comfortably as anyone lives with himself -
what percentage do you think engage in nightly
street cruising? .001 maybe. And the deliberately misleading, intentionally deceptive statement from the vice officers that we are not
"peaceful persons" is so absurd and disgustingly
untrue as almost to defy any other comment.
Something on a par with the notion that all
black men are likely to rob 7-Eleven stores....
I think about a friend of mine who had left a
gay bar with a friend of his. They were stopped
by the police as they were getting into the friend's car. One of the two officers used the
most abusive and derisive language against the
two young men as he tore the car apart looking
for and saying he would find "something" to be
able to take those two "perverts" in. He didn't
find anything, of course, but obviously did he
neither apologize but left them to straighten
out the damage with a string of the usual obsen-
ities hurled at homosexuals by ignorant (and
themselves threatened?) persons in or outside
It eludes me how any sexual relationships between persons mutually participating by their
own choice and volition be those between
the same or both sexes - can be called "vice"
except by standards or criteria born of ignorance, superstition, hypocrisy, or, perhaps, envy.
The vice squad is probably well named. But
for the wrong reasons. The wrong "vices." At
least where their "commando tactics," "trolling," standing around on street corners, waiting in darkened cars not for any crime with a
victim to happen, or to investigate one that has
happened, but to catch, punish, humiliate offenders to what are basically personal or private.
conventional or parochial standards of morality.
In this, it is they who are vicious. "Vicious"
meaning, as in its Latin origin, vitiosus. indicates, full of faults, ruined by defects, flaws or
errors, having bad habits, malicious, spiteful.
mean. And they are not many who have had
any contact with the "vice" who unlikely think
the word doesn't apply to them.
12 / COMMUNITY NEWS / FEBRUAR Y 75