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Critics: Cops Bothering Gays in Kent County Parks

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Activists in the Grand Rapids area say sheriff’s deputies have been unfairly targeting gay men in Kent County parks.

Critics told county commissioners Tuesday that undercover officers are entrapping gay men through casual conversation or arresting them for holding hands.

Attorney Miriam Aukerman of the American Civil Liberties Union says there’s nothing wrong with gay men flirting in a park. Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma denies that anyone is being arrested for holding hands. He says deputies are just trying to keep parks safe for everyone.

Michigan law bars someone from using a public place to invite someone to commit a “lewd or immoral act.” Aukerman says that could apply to any bar on weekends.

The Grand Rapids Press says county lawyers plan to offer the accused more rights.

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Associated Press

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