A man who was arrested as part of a cruising operation last year is suing the city of Los Angeles.

Charles Couch of Hawthorne, LA, alleges that he was subjected to false arrest, unlawful search and seizure, and multiple civil rights violations.

As part of the police operation, officers used a beach toilet to arrest men looking for sex.

Gay rights groups criticised the decision to arrest Mr Couch – along with 18 others on Manhattan Beach – in March 2012.

The names and details of the men were released to the media.

Mr Couch said he was working as a care assistant for a mentally disabled child and was waiting outside the toilet when the child unwittingly walked into the police operation.

The child ran out of the toilet and told Mr Couch that a man — an undercover officer — was looking at him through a hole from the next booth. Mr Couch said he turned to leave with the child when the officer followed him and asked why they were leaving so quickly.

It’s claimed that Mr Couch was surrounded by five other plain-clothed officers. Worried about the child’s safety, Mr Couch said he grabbed him, but was “tackled, choked and handcuffed” by the officers who then took him into custody where he was interrogated for several hours.

The child’s parents eventually were called and they vouched for Mr Couch and explained their child’s condition. Mr Couch was later released with a certificate stating there was insufficient evidence against him.

He is seeking $5 million (£3.1m) in damages for mental distress, aggravation and loss of work.