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Palm Springs police chief resigns over expletive, sting operation targeting gay men

Palm Springs police chief resigns over expletive, sting operation targeting gay men

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Police Chief David Dominguez has resigned amid an ongoing scandal involving a 2009 sex sting operation that targeted gay men.

The resignation last Wednesday was spurred by public outcry over a comment Dominguez made, in which he was overhead on a recording referring to gay men as “a bunch of filthy mother-fuckers.”

“An inappropriate comment made by me did not display the utmost professional conduct expected from the chief of police and I sincerely apologize to the community at large,” Dominguez said in an apology last month, but by then, the damage had been done.

Dominguez’ resignation “had to do precisely with the disconnection between police and Palm Springs’ prominent gay community,” according to the Desert Sun:

Even before it was revealed that Dominguez had uttered an expletive directed at gays during the sex sting operation in the Warm Sands neighborhood in 2009, the lack of any openly gay male Palm Springs police officers — or their unwillingness to come out — already irked many. Some estimates put the city’s LGBT population at 40 percent.

And as more details emerged about the police operation, carried out over four nights, it became clear that some of the officers involved, including Dominguez, were openly contemptuous of the men they were observing.

For months Dominguez had disputed allegations that he was the officer who made the slur.

Many residents felt the Chief should have been more forthcoming about what he said and when he said it. They say Dominguez could have acknowledged his comments well before the city launched an internal review of the sex sting.

The sting operation in June 2009 was conducted in response to what police said were complaints about drug use, public sex and prostitution, but some people complained that police were targeting gay men unfairly. The sting netted about 2 dozen arrests.

“After careful consideration of the events surrounding the Warm Sands undercover operation, I believe this decision is in the best interest of my family, the city and the Police Department,” Dominguez said.

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