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Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999
File 016
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Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 016. 1999-12-17. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 23, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/205.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1999-12-17). Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 016. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/205

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999 - File 016, 1999-12-17, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 23, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/223/show/205.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 999, December 17, 1999
Contributor
  • Hennie, Matthew A.
Publisher Window Media
Date December 17, 1999
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 016
Transcript HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 17, 1999 NEWS 15 San Antonio park sting nets more than 500 arrests > Continued from Page 14 'Community outcry' Parks department officials said the undercover operation started in 1997 after complaints from the public and a report on a local TV news program about public sex in city parks, Smudy said. While officials confirm that more than 500 men have been arrested during the sting, allegations that the sting targets gay men or entraps them are false, he said. "I'd say it's an accurate number. There was a tremendous community outcry to stop indecent exposure in parks," Smudy said. "My sister uses the parks quite often to walk her dog. She has said she has seen people having sex and people running naked for cars." During the sting, Smudy said a pair of park rangers will pose as park users, but won't make contact with others in the park. "They are forbidden from making contact. If .someone approaches them and makes conversation, they will make conversation," Smudy said. What often follows, he said, is the person who talked with the undercover officer than exposes his genitals and sometimes grabs the crotch of the park ranger. Most oi the men are handcuffed and arrested, rather than ticketed, because grabbing an officer is considered an assault, Sumdy said. The rangers don't have time to stop the incident and issue a ticket before it escalates, he said. "Normally they try to [write a citation]," Smudy said. In San Antonio, the city's park rangers are charged with handling minor offenses that occur in parks. They are certified peace officers and receive special training from the San Antonio Police Department's vice squad to conduct undercover operations. Park rangers patrol the city's 160 paries and its well-known river walk. Five of the city's 101 rangers are involved in the operation, which uses only male officers and concentrates on two-dozen city parks, said Richard Bonn, chief of the city's park rangers. Although Bonn said he has a $4 million budget, he would not say how much money has been spent on the two-year-old sting. Bonn said no women have been arrested for indecent exposure since the operation began. "We've had some that were dressed like women, but none of them I know of were actually women," he said. Smudy said that many parks have warning signs near areas where indecent exposure incidents have occurred. The signs caution users that parks are patrolled by uniformed and undercover rangers. But Smudy could not explain the high number of arrests in light of the warnings and publicity of the sting operation. "We have made this public knowledge," he said. "We almost completely blew the covert shadow of this operation." Bonn said the covert operation was started at the request of the San Antonio Police Department, which had previously organ ized vice operations in parks. The warning signs were also erected at the request of city police, Bonn said. Sumdy decided to use the undercover operation rather than close some of the most troubled parks, which was what the police department had advised, Bonn said. An arrested man speaks out But one of the men arrested in the operation challenges the statements of city officials that they don't target gay men. "It was clearly a set up and dearly was entrapment," said Doyle Bridger, who was arrested in March at a San .Antonio park for indecent exposure and assault. Despite the arrest, Bridger said it was time to speak out because something needs to be done about the sting operation. "I've been going to this one park everyday for seven years and I eat my lunch there everyday. On this particular day I had to go to the restroom," Bridger said. He said he has seen and taken part in sex in city parks, but wasn't cruising for sex when he was arrested nine months ago. Bridger said he saw a gray-haired white man and a Hispanic man outside the rest- room rubbing themselves as he approached. The gray-haired man followed him into the restroom and looked over the stall at Bridger three times, Bridger said. The other man also walked into the restroom. After the third attempt by the gray-haired man to look over the stall at Bridger, he showed the man his genitals. "I said, 'Okay, you old queen, if you want to see it here it is,'" Bridger said. The men were park rangers and part of the covert operation. Bridger was arrested, handcuffed and stood by the restroom for 15 minutes before being transported to a nearby parking lot and seated in a patrol car for two hours, he said. Bridger said he never touched either one of the officers, though he was later charged with assault. County court records confirm that Bridger was charged with indecent exposure, a Class B misdemeanor, and with assault for hitting the Hispanic officer, a Class C misdemeanor. A judge sentenced Bridger to one year of probation, hundreds of dollars in fines and 24 hours of community .service, he said. When asked why he exposed himself to the officers, Bridger said the men played their roles well. "My response is these guys are good," he said. "Thev were very good with the body language," Dan Castor, co-chairman of the .San Antonio Equal Rights Political Caucus, called the two-vear sting "atrocious." "It is dangerous for anyone to be doing anything in a park in San Antonio, because we have a longtime issue with over zealous entrapment by law enforcement," Castor said. %xk Sfwti &IM Provider dedicated to serving the HIV community Now Accepting Medicare, PPOs & Standard Insurances. 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