New York City can be sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution for an unconstitutional custom of arresting gay men for prostitution at video stores without probable cause, ruled U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, the New York Law Journal reports. Robert Pinter charged that police were targeting and entrapping gay men at video stores. In a case where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit already ruled that officers were shielded by qualified immunity because they “arguably” had probable cause to arrest Pinter in 2008, Scheindlin allowed claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution and malicious abuse of process to remain against the city itself.
The arrest that triggered the lawsuit happened in 2008, when Pinter and an undercover officer agreed to leave a video store and have sex in a nearby car. On the way out the door, the undercover allegedly added he would perform a sex act for $50. Pinter claimed he remained silent but continued walking with the undercover until he was arrested by detectives for prostitution.