SAA Picnic Held at Park; No Harassment
A local gay man who was cited for indecent exposure while sitting on a
beach at John Lloyd State Park in a white swimsuit has been found not
guilty after defending himself in a Hollywood court.
Judge Lee Jay Seidman declared Tracy Faulkner, a registered nurse, not
guilty of two counts of indecent exposure after examining the swimsuit
and hearing testimony from Faulkner and the arresting officer, David G.
Pius. In his citation, Pius said the swimsuit was “less than fully opaque.”
“I am thankful to live in a country where a regular person can defend himself against injustice and win,” Faulkner said. “I am also grateful
to the bailiff, who followed us to the parking lot to congratulate me.
She said more people should stand up for themselves. And I am most
thankful to Judge Lee Jay Seidman for his fairness and patience.”
Faulkner is one of nine gay men who attended a meeting at the Law
Offices of Kent and Cormican on June 10 to discuss the possibility of a class-action suit against park officers who have been accused of
targeting gay men and falsely accusing them of violations at John U.
Lloyd Park. Kent and Cormican have the names of 15 gay men who are
willing to testify in a possible class-action suit that they were
harassed and/or falsely accused of violations by officers in the park.
One of the men at the meeting, Nunaz Guerra of Hollywood, said he was
falsely accused of engaging in sex on the beach. Guerra said he was
standing on John Lloyd beach talking to another man when an officer
came up and shined a flashlight on him. Guerra said the officer asked
to see his ID. Guerra said he asked the officer, “What’s going on?” The
officer then told him that he was under arrest for engaging in oral
sex. Guerra said he was shocked. “We were just standing and talking,”
he said. “If I had done that and gotten caught, I would have admitted it,” he said. “We were both standing. The other person would have had
to be on his knees to do that.”
Another man at the meeting, Jose Mendoza, has pled not guilty to a
charge of sitting “in a restricted area” on John Lloyd beach. Mendoza
said he was sitting about 20 feet from the water on a sand dune above a ledge. Like several other gay men charged with the same violation,
Mendoza said he had no idea he was doing anything wrong. “The park has been completely negligent about informing people about this restricted area,” he said. His trial has been rescheduled for June 23.
J. Luis Jimenez, said he was stopped by Officer David G. Pius, the same officer involved in the swimsuit case, and Officer D. Jones while
jogging through the park on a trail. Jimenez said Officer Jones told
him, “This doesn’t look like a restricted are, but it really is.”
According to Jimenez, the officers asked to see his ID. After he told
them it was in his car, the officers followed him back to the car,
searched his car and searched a backpack in the car, Jimenez
said. “They kept asking me questions,” he said. At one point, Jimenez
said the officers asked if he had urinated in the area. “When someone passed on the trail, they asked me if I knew him,” Jimenez said. “I
said, ‘No, he waved at you.’” The officers gave him a warning for being
in “a restricted area” and left.
Jimenez, who teaches environmental studies at a local college, said, “I have traveled all around the world to national parks, and whenever
there are restricted areas, there are always signs.” He added, “I have
seen [the park officers drive vehicles all over the protected
vegetation. They are disturbing the ecosystem.”
Rodger Stamp, a Hollywood resident, contacted The Express last week and
said he has witnessed harassment and false arrests at John U. Lloyd
Park and been targeted himself. “I saw a guy on the beach take off his shorts,” Stamp said. “He had a bathing suit under the shorts. Officer
Jones came up to him and told him he was under arrest for masturbating
on the beach.”
Stamp said an officer once stopped him along a trail and asked to see
his ID. “He told me I was in a ‘high sex-crime area’ and that I wasn’t
supposed to be there,” Stamp said. “I wasn’t doing anything wrong; I
was just walking on the nature trails.”
Stamp said the majority of people he sees having sex on the beach are heterosexual couples. He said he once saw a couple on the beach.
According to Stamp, the woman was wearing no top and a thong bathing
The Express faxed a list of eight questions to the Lucia Ross, media
and public relations spokesperson for the Florida Department of
Environmental Protection, Division of Law Enforcement, more than two
weeks ago. She promised to give them to Major Elwood Stevens, bureau
chief of the park patrol. On June 7, Ross told The Express that the department was “drafting a response.” The Express still has not received any response. The department has also declined repeated
requests from The Express to talk with the officers involved in the incidents.
Meanwhile, the Sunshine Athletic Association (SAA), a local gay group,
held its annual picnic at John U. Lloyd park last weekend. About 100
members of the group showed up, and there were apparently no incidents, according to Andy Eddy, an SAA member. “Some people called and were afraid to go, but nothing happened,” Eddy said. In fact, he said the park officers on duty that day “were very nice. They came around and emptied the trash.”
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