Police arrest nine queer men in Grindr sex sting operation dubbed ‘cataclysmic failure’ of justice

An iPhone showing the Grindr logo

Georgia, US, police have been accused of “cataclysmic failure” by LGBT+ activists after cops arrested nine men following a three-day sting operation conducted through Grindr.

The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office carried out the apprehension from March 2 to 4, according to Project Q.

But after the arrests were made, the names, mug shots and, in some instances, employers, of the nine men were printed in a Dawsonville local paper.

Police target queer men on Grindr, booking them on drug and prostitution charges. 

Changes from felonies to misdemeanours were stacked on top of the men, many related to drug usage and prostitution, as it appears cops combed queer-dating apps to make the arrests.

Undercover cops spoke to at least one of the men, who is openly gay, through Grindr.

But the man, on the condition of anonymity, revealed to the Atalanta-based publication that the exchange he had over the app with the officer contradicts law enforcement’s account.

According to authorities, seargent Dereck Johnson – under the user name “Charlie [looking for] 420” – initiated the conversation and offered to host at Dawsonville Quality Inn and Suites.

When the man mentioned he had marijuana, Johnson asked “U share?” and offered to provide rolling papers.

“I want to get high and fuck,” Johnson messaged.

The suspect who replied, “Nothing wrong with that”, has been levelled charges of misdemeanour pandering, possession of marijuana (less than an ounce) and criminal attempt.

Activists have skewered the sting operation as a “cataclysmic failure”, harking the arrests back to when law enforcement targeted queer cruising spots throughout the mid-20th century.

Gregory Nevins, an attorney with the LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal, said: “It does strike you as wow, these are the priorities of a different era that just missed out on the last 20 years.

“What’s going on in Dawson County is against the grain. Where does the protect and serve baseline actually come into this?

“Where is any appreciation for not over-incarcerating people who aren’t doing anything harmful and looking out for situations where real harm is going on?

“It’s a cataclysmic failure.”