BY THOMAS J. SHEERAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLEVELAND -- Two gay men who say they were punched and pinned to the ground by an off-duty police officer before being called offensive names and jailed without their trousers have sued the city and its police over what they call anti-gay bias.
Steven Ondo and Jonathan Simcox said the off-duty officer, who was a neighbor, complained about a noisy argument on the street and attacked them last April and had them arrested. A week later, they said, they were arrested by SWAT officers and were punched again at their home while lounging in T-shirts and underpants. They said they were denied a chance to get their pants and weren't provided with any in jail for a day.
The men were charged with assaulting the officer but were acquitted Oct. 20 in a non-jury trial.
Ondo, 22, and Simcox, 25, filed the U.S. District Court lawsuit against the city and its police last month and asked for unspecified damages. They said their goal was to deter biased treatment by police.
During the second arrest, the lawsuit says, the officers repeatedly referred to Ondo and Simcox as "faggots" and said "faggots don't get to wear pants to jail" when they were transported to the city lockup. Simcox's brother was at the house and asked if he could get the pants for them, but police refused, although he was allowed to get their shoes, the lawsuit says.