Georgia police were reportedly using Grindr and other “web-based platforms” to entice men into fake hookups and then arresting them for prostitution when the men arrived. Police claim the nine men offered to “trade” poppers or pot in exchange for sex.
The cops are publishing the men’s mugshots and charges in the local newspaper, but Project Q Atlanta has reviewed the entire Grindr conversation from one of the men arrested and it shows that there is no truth to the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office’s claims.
The outlet shared screenshots of the Grindr conversation with the LGBTQ legal organization Lambda Legal. Greg Nevins, senior counsel at the group’s Southern Regional Office in Atlanta, said the pandering charge is nonsense.
“The one thing that you should have before you label something prostitution is a very clear situation where the offer of the item or money is an indispensable part of the transaction,” Nevins said. “The supposed sex worker has to basically make it clear that without your paying or giving the item, there will be no sex. That’s not here at all.”
The screenshots show that the anonymous man was contacted by user “Charlie[looking for]420” who wanted to hookup at a hotel. Actually, it was Sgt. W. Dereck Johnson from the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office behind the screen name.
When the man said he had some marijuana, Johnson asked him if he would share and offered to supply rolling papers for a joint.
“I want to get high and fuck,” Johnson wrote the outlet reports.
“Nothing wrong with that,” the man replied.
“[The suspect] did solicit SSGT D. Johnson to perform an act of prostitution in exchange for marijuana,” Johnson wrote in the warrant.
But after reviewing the conversation, there was no demand for payment. Instead, it was just a horny guy offering to share a joint with a potential sex partner.
At least one man who had amyl nitrate (also known as poppers) was also arrested. Most of them were charged with possession or distribution of a controlled substance – charges that would include the drug. Some men were charged with possession or attempting to distribute marijuana.
One of the men arrested is a local middle school teacher who wasn’t charged with any drug offenses.