MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif.—Most young people are by now aware of the perils (and pleasures?) that come with seeing their genitalia ridiculed on IsAnyoneUp.com—and either take precautions to keep from winding up there or scheme to ensure they do—but that lovely endeavor by the always charming Hunter Moore is certainly not the only online avenue by which one can achieve a similar form of digital infamy. Another great way is to have your mug shot posted online, which often comes with added perks such as an overnight stay in a county facility and the opportunity to meet new people.
The other great thing about getting your mug shots posted online is that you don't even have to have been convicted of anything. Most people assume you need to be found guilty of whatever they think you did before they can publicize your face in the "face forward, turn to the side" format preferred by jailhouse photographers, but such is not the case. As a recent situation in the Southern California's Manhattan Beach community reveals, even group stings targeting allegedly public sex acts come complete with free online publicity.
The sting in question, which has since garnered a shitload of publicity, was reported April 4 by the Manhattan Beach Police Department, which had arrested 18 men for allegedly engaging in sex acts at a Marina Avenue public restroom near the beach.
Activity at the bathroom "started up probably the last week in February," Manhattan Beach police Officer Stephanie Martin told the Daily Breeze, adding that lifeguards "started noticing some questionable conduct."
The article added, "Men sometimes stayed in the restroom for longer than an hour, and the same people would return. Lifeguards also found graffiti of graphic sexual images on restroom walls, and holes drilled through stall partitions. Lifeguards told police that instead of seeing one pair of feet in a stall, 'sometimes they would see two or three.'"
The police responded immediately, set up surveillance and said they had their first arrest within minutes. Utilizing sophisticated investigation techniques, they also checked out websites and online chat rooms, where they discovered discussions about the Marina Avenue toilets, and decided that more resources would be required.
"Officers soon conducted six undercover operations, posing as men seeking activity," the Breeze reported. "Police made 17 more arrests."
Charges included "soliciting or engaging in lewd conduct in a public place, loitering in and around a public toilet for the purpose of engaging or soliciting a lewd or unlawful act, utilizing a restroom peephole, invasion of privacy, resisting arrest and indecent exposure.
"Police released their booking mugs and names to the media," the article added. "Two men told the Daily Breeze their arrests were mistakes."
A hue and cry appropriately arose in the immediate aftermath of the release of those photos, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center lodged a complaint, and the Manhatten Beach police chief is on the defensive trying to explain the department's policy. Needless to say, Manhattan Beach is not the only department that does this. It's pretty much de rigueur, aka mug shot porn.
Correction: The original version of this story misidentified the California beach city as Huntington Beach and not Manhattan Beach, where the arrests took place. Our sincere apologies to Huntington Beach!