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Public Pressure causes Kent County Sheriff’s Department to back off some aspects of their Bag a Fag policy

April 24, 2012

In December, we reported that the Kent County Sheriff’s Department was being challenged by the ACLU of Western Michigan on its policy of targeting gay men in county parks, in what is often referred to as “Bag a Fag” operations.

Then in February, we reported that several LGBT organizations and allies sent a letter to the Kent County Commissioners demanding that this practice of targeting gay men by the Sheriff’s Department cease.

Up to this point the ACLU had been trying for 9 months to get a meeting with the Sheriff’s Department and the Kent County Prosecutors Office, but it wasn’t until several County Commissioners, who upon receiving the letter, pushed for the County to meet with the ACLU.

Since then the Sheriff’s Department has met with the ACLU and as of now the Kent County Sheriff’s Department is no longer arresting gay men for having conversations with other men in public parks. There are still aspects of the Sheriff Department’s Policy on this issue that leaves those at the ACLU a bit uneasy, but clearly some progress has been made because of the pressure that individuals and organizations have put on the Kent County Sheriff’s Department.

We will continue to provide updates on this issue as new information comes to light.

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