KLEPT, Stone Park PD accused of prostitution shakedown [SP]
Blake Horowitz press release:
In a money making scheme designed to trap innocent men into paying up to $600.00 in cash, the City of Stone Park has trapped innocent men for solicitation of a prostitute in a scheme that and has generated more than half a million dollars in this endeavor.
An undercover officer has been captured, on video, attempting to solicit and ensnare customers who come to use the Blue Dolphin Car Wash (the site of the fraudulent sting operation). The plaintiffs of a lawsuit already pending against Stone Park police have amended their complaint to lodge a class action. "There were just so many innocent men being caught, it was time for a class action" says attorney, Blake Horwitz. "It has become so bad that even the owner of the car wash has filed a lawsuit."
Solicitation of a prostitute is not engaging in a sexual act, but the request for sexual contact. This is where the story unfolds. "It's the same story, over and over again, from every single person," said Blake Horwitz, police misconduct attorney and representative of the twelve current plaintiffs. "Typically, a man would pull into the car wash and an undercover female officer would approach, saying "I'll do anything" and "how much would you give me for ...." After an exchange lasting no more than 30 seconds the innocent car wash customers rebuff the Stone Park officer and then drive off. Afterwards, the car wash customer is then pulled over by Stone Park Officers who impound the cars to the tune of $500 plus storage fees. Later the car wash customer gets a ticket for solicitation and is summoned to a quasi-criminal hearing.
The sting operation is also hurting the owner of the Blue Dolphin Car Wash (the chosen location of the operation). Today, John and Zyta Pawlik, owners of the Blue Dolphin Car Wash, are filing a lawsuit for civil rights violations due to the damage Stone Park's "sting operation" has had on their business. They have suffered a loss of customers and have been told that people avoid the car wash now out of the fear of being falsely apprehended.
In his own separate lawsuit, Mr. Pawlik, the new Plaintiff, has video evidence of the unlawful actions of the undercover Stone Park officer attempting to solicit and entrap men as recently as September 2006.
Hopefully the class action claims will get the Stone Park police to stop their corrupt tactics and persuade more victims to come forward. Horwitz was quoted as saying, "The village is relying on (the victims') embarrassment to keep this money-making scheme quiet, but I think they'll find that the falsely accused men don't want to be intimated."