A lawsuit filed by Steven Ondo and
Jonathan Simcox alleges the City of Cleveland and its police
discriminated against them because they are gay.
According to gay bi-weekly the Gay
People's Chronicle, the suit, which was filed in January, is
preparing to enter the discovery phase, during which lawyers will
“try to get some explanation of why these two young men were
singled out,” said David B. Malik, a civil rights attorney.
Last April, the couple was approached
by an off-duty officer and neighbor irked by their noisy street
argument. The 220-pound officer physically attacked the pair –
Simcox weighs 130 pounds – and had them arrested. Charges of
assaulting an officer and aggravated disorderly conduct were later
A week later, a SWAT team arrived at
their home at 5:30AM to arrest the men and denied them a chance to
get their pants.
Ondo and Simcox, both in their early
20s, claim that officers repeatedly referred to them as “faggots”
and said “faggots don't get to wear pants to jail” during their
second arrest. They remained without pants as police drove around
making other arrests and while in jail for at least one day.
“They were humiliated and
embarrassed,” attorney Dan Chaplin told the AP. “They were
shackled to strangers while they were in their underwear and they
couldn't leave. And the other guys that were arrested were allowed
to get clothes on.”
“It was just a real old-fashioned gay
bashing by the Cleveland police department,” he added.