The sheriff’s office in Baton Rouge, the capital of the US state of Louisiana, has issued a statement denying that its officers used a defunct law to specifically target gay men, but admitted possibly using the wrong approach.
Last week the Advocate reported that police officers from the Sheriff’s office in Baton Rouge had made at least a dozen arrests of gay men since 2011 using an anti-sodomy law despite it being struck down ten years ago.
Arrests have been made as recently as July, with gay men being charged with “attempted crimes against nature” for discussing having consensual sex in a private place with an undercover police officer.
On Sunday, the sheriff’s office said in a statement that it “has not, nor will it ever, set out with the intent to target or embarrass any part of our law-abiding community.” It went on to say that it was to stop illegal activity from taking place in a public park.
“In hindsight, however, we feel we should have taken a different approach,” the statement said.
City council member John Delgado had said he was “incensed” when he read the original report by the Advocate. He said he wants to examine records to ascertain whether the sheriff had been harassing gay men through his enforcement of the law.