ACLU Files Suit Against Miami Beach for Harassment of Gay Man

Back in February, I posted about Miami Beach police harassing and arresting a gay man after he witnessed them abusing a suspect. The gay man, Harold Strickland (pictured), was on the phone with 911 when the cops came after him.

The Miami Herald reported:

Strickland "A few seconds later, the line went dead. Strickland later told the ACLU that Forte and Hazzi grabbed his cellphone and disconnected the call. 'The officers then told Strickland: 'We know what you're doing here. We're sick of all the f—ing fags in the neighborhood.' The officers pushed Strickland to the ground and tied his hands behind his back,' [Robert F. Rosenwald Jr., director of the ACLU Florida's Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Advocacy Project] wrote in an ACLU letter delivered Wednesday to Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower.' While Strickland was on the ground, the officers continued to spew anti-gay epithets. They called him a 'f—ing fag' and told him he was going to `get it good in jail.'' Bower and City Manager Jorge Gonzalez also declined to comment."

The ACLU, which originally announced its plan to file suit in February, has finally done so in federal court:

"Gay men have been reportedly targeted by Miami Beach police near Flamingo Park for decades. Often, police target gay men walking near Flamingo Park for nothing more than looking 'too gay'," said Robert Rosenwald, Director of the ACLU of Florida's LGBT Advocacy Project in a statement. "When police officers become the problem rather than the solution, the City needs to take action. Strickland fulfilled his civic duty by reporting what he recognized as police misconduct, but as a result he became the subject of verbal abuse and wrongful arrest."

Riptide writes: "While the suit only concerns the single incident, the ACLU claims it highlights disturbing trends in the Miami Beach Police Department of 'unlawfully targeting gay men for arrest without probable cause and harassing and arresting people who observe, document, and/or report police misconduct.


  1. Justin Werner says

    If the allegations are true, the officers in question need to not only be dismissed, but to be tried on all appropriate criminal charges. How do people like this get by psych screenings? Standards for hiring law enforcement personnel need to be improved!

  2. says

    It goes without saying (but I’ll say it) that this type of criminal behaviour by scum police needs to nipped in the bud…..

    They should be made an example of, so that any more aspiring police bigots will think twice about their macho bigotry.
    Prosecute and then sue them and the police dept. which tolerates them to the end.

  3. George says

    It makes me sad to read this i used to live there and the police department was excellent. This is what happens when you make straights move into the neighborhood everything just falls apart.

  4. Rob says

    What has happened to Miami Beach? It used to be extremely gay-friendly when gays were part of the 1990s transformation of the city, including South Beach and Lincoln Road Mall, into viable tourist destinations for gays and straights. It’s appalling that the city government has allowed its PD to operate in this disgustingly homophobic manner. No wonder it appears more and more gays are focusing on nearby Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manners for their “gay-cations” instead of this former gay beacon. After all, Fort Lauderdale citizens finally rid themselves of their virulently anti-gay (yet Democratic) mayor a few years back.

    Perhaps the Greater Miami & the Beaches CVB ought to have a serious discussion with Miami Beach government and business leaders before this destination falls further down (or even off) the gay-friendly vacation spot list.

  5. ChimChim says

    So here’s how it’s going to play out: lawyers, blah blah, lawyers, settle. That much money less in the budget next year. City Council: we must cut back. Police Union lobby, grandstanding by get tough on crime/Cuban immigrants. Social services get cut because as we all know, the poor don’t have lobbyists. Fewer meals on wheels, bus rides double. Yay, we win!

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