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Lawsuit: Port Authority Police Target Gay Men In Bus Terminal Bathroom Arrests

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A class action lawsuit claims Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police are wrongly arresting gay men on public lewdness and other charges after using the bus terminal's bathrooms.

The suit, filed Monday in Manhattan federal court, claims Port Authority police officers engage in discrimination by falsely arresting men perceived as gay at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on baseless charges.

The complaint accuses officers of roaming bus station bathrooms, sometimes trying to engage the interest of men they find there, then charging them with lewd conduct, CBS2 reported.

The complaint accuses PAPD officers of targeting gays to boost quality of life arrest statistics.

"The PAPD have continued to make such targeted arrests knowing or believing that most of those arrested will ultimately be forced to plead to lesser charges to avoid public embarrassment and humiliation, costly legal fees, and jail sentences, as well as reputational and professional harm associated with the false charges,'' the suit explained.

The suit was filed by Winston & Strawn LLP and the Legal Aid Society. The plaintiffs are seeking a stop to the practice, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

"The use of police assets and resources in this unconstitutional and unconscionable way is particularly stunning in light of the world in which we live,'' said Thomas Patrick Lane, partner with Winston & Strawn.

The Port Authority declined to comment.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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