A US gay couple arrested on assault charges say they were denied trousers for a day after being told “faggots don’t deserve to wear pants in jail”.

Jonathan Simcox and Steven Ondo of Ohio told Cleveland’s FOX8 network they were suing police officers for use of “excessive force and undisguised prejudice” during their arrest.

Simcox and Ondo said they had been making their way home in April 2011 when they began arguing in the street.

An off-duty police officer who lived on the road then told them to cease disturbing the peace.

Simcox told FOX8: “He came out over shouting, saying, ‘Shut up, you’re disturbing the peace’.”

“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.”

The couple was arrested and released. A week later, they say police arrived at their home late at night to detain them on assault charges relating to that incident.

The gay men say at the time they were only wearing t-shirts and underwear.

Simcox’s brother, who was present at the scene, asked if he could bring their clothes was allegedly told: “You can go get them shoes, but faggots don’t deserve to wear pants in jail.”

The couple say it was a day before they were reunited with their trousers, and they went on to be cleared of the assault charge.

Cleveland authorities said the couple’s civil lawsuit, which claims their constitutional rights were infringed, would be addressed in the US District Court.