Crime | Palm Springs

Palm Springs Police Chief Apologizes For Homophobic Remarks

Yesterday, Palm Springs Police Chief David Dominguez publicly apologized for homophobic remarks he made during a sex sting operation that targeted gay men in that city.

David_dominguez Valley News reports on exactly what Dominguez was caught saying: "What a bunch of filthy mother (expletive). You guys should get paid extra for this."

According to court documents, Dominguez used the phrase "filthy motherf**kers” while another officer involved in the sting was overheard using the slur "c**ksuckers."

It took Dominguez a few months (and a couple of denials) but he has now apologized: "An inappropriate comment made by me did not display the utmost professional conduct expected from the chief of police and I sincerely apologize to the community at large."

The apology came only after City Manager David Ready released a memo to the Palm Springs City Council that criticizes the way in which the stings were conducted: “Portions of the operation were not conducted according to the professional standards that are expected of our Police Department. As a result, appropriate disciplinary and correction action has already been taken.”

Valley News provides more information about the findings: "In the city's report, Ready said police should have reached out to hoteliers, businesses and residents to warn them about the sting operation. He suggested the sting could have been done with surveillance instead of undercover decoys."

You may recall that the sting operation caused quite an stir among the city's gay community over the summer. The undercover operation targeted gay men involved in public sex and were charged under a harsh and unusual section of the Penal Code that would require them to register as sex offenders for life.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Sorry but too little, too late. I've had enough bullshit from homophobic city officials like this one in Palm Springs. His apology sounds insincere (the City Manager made him do it). Therefore, I'll not be making any visits to this gay resort city like I've done over the past five years. However, it'd be interesting to know just what "appropriate disciplinary and correction (sic) actions" were taken in this matter by their PD. Also, what happened to the records of those gay men arrested in these sting operations? Will they be saddled with having to register as "sex offenders" for life?? This was pure bullshit action by the City of Palm Springs and their homophobic police department.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Dec 29, 2010 8:11:58 AM

  2. the gay community has the right to police the behavior/comments of public officials, right?

    the city has a right to control drug use, public sex & prostitution, right?

    sounds to me like there are 2 problems here that need to be dealt with

    Posted by: dvdinorl | Dec 29, 2010 8:28:03 AM

  3. I agree with DVDINORL, the public has the right to police the police. Regardless of the inappropriate comments made by public officials, these men broke the law and need to face the consequences of their actions. Go home, to a motel--you make the rest of us look bad. And if you're into public sex and prostitution, then you should have the thick skin to take a few inappropriate remarks. Frankly, if I were witness to that I would probably say the same thing.

    Posted by: Morgan | Dec 29, 2010 9:53:53 AM

  4. ...and I always thought that Palm Springs was a very gay friendly town. Tons of gay money and gay tourism. Guess not. Somethings I will never understand. Hate and discrimination are everywhere, including where you do not see them.

    Posted by: Max F. Grump | Dec 29, 2010 10:01:57 AM

  5. So, does anyone know what happened to the men arrested in the sting last summer? Suspect they"re the forgotten ones, who probably copped pleas just to get the nighmare behind them. Palm Springs is a scary place with a better reputation than it deserves. Gay friendly..NOT.

    Posted by: Joe | Dec 29, 2010 10:10:59 AM

  6. Palm Springs gay friendly. No this very conservative, very wealthy town does not like anything different. They'll gladly take your money but they don't give a rat's a$$ about LGBT people. You need to think twice about where you vacation people.

    As for the police chief, he's just sorry he got caught and that's all.

    Posted by: Brad | Dec 29, 2010 10:54:17 AM

  7. I decided to submit a tip to Crime Stoppers:

    Posted by: Zack | Dec 29, 2010 11:00:25 AM

  8. @brad: you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. palm springs median income is $10K less than the national average. 3 of the largest events of the year are gay events...the dinah, white party and pride and they are all supported by city govt. and locals a like. there are a few bad apples no matter where you go but that doesn't make us all homophobes. come to PS. we love our tourists.

    also, i challenge you to name one town where it is ok to have sex out in the open. the cops were doing their job, however poorly. i used to live in that neighborhood and the tourist's behavior was unbelievably stupid and inappropriate. don't blame PS, blame the idiots who think it's ok to walk down the street naked trolling for dick.

    Posted by: psgoodguy | Dec 29, 2010 11:31:17 AM

  9. Just want to add my 2 cents worth to this conversation from my standpoint as a gay businessman and long-time Palm Springs resident. Palm Springs is among the gay-friendliest places in the U.S. I'm happy and proud to live and work in this diverse and beautiful community.

    The actions of the police chief, and the police department in this specific instance, are shocking and immoral and just plain wrong. However, as hundreds of thousands of visitors and residents could tell you, most of us never witness this kind of discriminatory and offensive behavior here.

    This incident reveals once again that ignorance and homophobia lurk beneath the surface of our culture, even in the most accepting of communities, and even in people in positions of leadership and power.

    I hope that the result of bringing all this to light results in new levels of understanding, respect, acceptance, and love...despite what it must feel like to those who read of these despicable slurs and actions. And my heart goes out to those who have been through hell as they have dealt with the unfair and harsh treatment they received.

    Btw, I would like to temper the notion that Palm Springs is a very wealthy town that doesn't give a rat's ass about LGBT people. People of all income levels coexist here harmoniously and gratefully. (We are sometimes confused with other wealthier communities partly because of our rich history of being the playground for many famous celebrities. Part of the wonder of this place is just how open and accepting this city has been despite the conservative voting of many of its citizens.)

    I just had to stand up for what I think is a vibrant, loving small city, and I want to extend my one-man welcome to all.

    Posted by: Gary | Dec 29, 2010 11:37:27 AM

  10. Why hasn't this ugly, filthy-mouthed police chief been asked to resign? And what kind of "appropriate disciplinary action" was taken? I don't believe one can have any confidence that this police chief has respect for the gay community in Palm Springs.

    Posted by: psIloveyou | Dec 29, 2010 11:52:29 AM

  11. He should resign or be fired. Would his comments be acceptable if used to describe Black people? The vocal and influential gay community should make sure that he is removed. The police action is debatable; his attitude is not.

    Posted by: Gr8guyca | Dec 29, 2010 12:04:40 PM

  12. typical example of the straight ruling class' thinly veiled disdain for gay men. I still think the gay hotels in the area had something to do with this. Because the hotels want the sex inside their walls so they can charge you the daypass rate...PS is at least 30% gay. Of course the gay landed gentry, looks at this type of activity with as much disapproval as the straights. PS also has the high per capita of HIV+ men in the usa....just a comment not a connection to free sex on the streets

    Posted by: stevenelliot | Dec 29, 2010 12:18:09 PM

  13. Why is anyone shocked un-PC language was used? Do you live in the real world? Most people I know swear and use foul and sometimes un-PC language on stressful occasions, especially in private or semi-private situations. And that includes so-called 'Professionals'.

    And people are surprised the cops behind the scenes don't hold a high opinion of gays or to be honest people in general? Most of their interaction with people including homosexuals aren't happy circumstances and often involves the worse of human behavior and nature.

    And surprise! There are many people and places happy to take your money with a smile on their face, but they really don't hold you in high regard. Welcome to the real world. You do know 99% of real estate agents, hospitality workers, city chamber of commerces, etc., are BS'ers? The chief's 'Apology' is also BS.

    Finally, you don't want a negative experience where your feeling are hurt, don't involve yourself in negative and/or illegal situations. Who doubts that dudes cruising and doing other poo in public places is indeed a serious quality of life issue, even a an issue that promotes violence and other illegal activity, isn't a problem in some places? Same thing with heterosexuals and street prostitution, brothels, etc.,

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 29, 2010 1:18:49 PM

  14. I'm only going to say that the whole story here isn't being reported.

    Many of those arrested were entrapped.

    When approached by the undercover cops, the victims suggested they go to their hotels/homes. The cops then asked the vics to "show them the goods". One guy finally did after 20 minutes of enticement from the cop.

    Okay, now perhaps whipping your dick out wasn't the smartest move in the books, but chances are they wouldn't have done it without being asked to - as they clearly wanted to move things indoors in a non-public setting.

    Not a crime worth the penalty they are facing IMO.

    Posted by: Kyle | Dec 29, 2010 1:35:54 PM

  15. Click on the link in today's post to the Towleroad blog post from July which contains some details about the arrests. It appears there was not only entrapment, but entrapment to a criminal degree. If true, it would appear the undercover cops also broke the law. If the police used these kinds of tactics, I now question the police reports and the validity of the charges. I really hope the PS press and defense attorney expose these cops.

    Study after study has been done, and the most effective deterrent for public sex cruising is uniformed patrols. The lease effective is undercover entrapment.

    For those of us old enough to remember the 70's (and 80's), we all knew that in the months leading up to an election the lewd conduct arrests would skyrocket. That was the easiest and safest way for police and the DA to inflate their arrest/conviction numbers. If you're a cop, do you want use a battering ram to enter a drug house and risk your life, our put on a tank top and entice a drunk old man to "pull it out" (and quickly plead guilty).

    Many are not aware but you don't have to engage in lewd conduct to be arrested for it. You merely have to say, "let's go park someplace" and you can be arrested for Verbal Solicitation lewd conduct. Same charge, same consequences (Sex Offender list)

    Posted by: Brix | Dec 29, 2010 1:52:45 PM

  16. Apology? After all this time? No, he needs to be punished for even thinking in those terms as a chief of police in this city. Apology NOT accepted until he proves that he can totally accept the 50% of this population that is gay!

    Posted by: VIc Yepello | Dec 29, 2010 4:15:24 PM

  17. HETEROSEXUALS do NOT get charged with felonies and registered as sex offenders for having public sex, gay men do. THAT IS DISCRIMINATION.

    Posted by: Bill | Dec 29, 2010 7:52:59 PM

  18. Palm Springs, FL? CA?

    Posted by: Esurb | Dec 30, 2010 6:40:41 AM

  19. Why doesn't this PIG spend some effort trying to find the OTHER "Dominguesz's who are sneaking over the border RUINING my country??? HE SHOULD FOLLOW THEM BCK!

    Posted by: shannon | Dec 31, 2010 1:48:33 AM

  20. I may only spend winters in Palm Springs, but it seems to me to be one of the most open, accepting and friendliest places on the planet. I am, however, DEEPLY disturbed by the fact that the police chief wasn't fired for this. In a town that gets so much from the gay community, it was simply wrong to let this whole scenario play out as it did. But don't let this incident turn you off the town - Palm Springs is mostly, and sincerely - GREAT.

    Posted by: Nora | Dec 31, 2010 2:38:33 AM

  21. I don't think it really matters if he apologizes, if he still probably believes his original comment.

    @ESURB: I'm assuming this is CA, since Valley News is sited -- I don't think there are any valleys in Florida. (But good question...) I would think Florida to be more homophobic then California, but something like this would be less news-worthy in Florida. That and Palm Springs, CA probably has a much larger gay community then Palm Springs, FL.

    Posted by: SFRowGuy | Jan 3, 2011 5:43:26 PM

Post a comment


« «Watch: James Marsden's Hot Tub Plunge on 'Modern Family'« «