Robin Garrison, an off-duty 42-year-old firefighter, was walking in Berliner Park in Columbus, Ohio, in May when he saw a woman sunbathing topless under a tree.
He approached her and they started talking and getting comfortable, the woman smiling and resting her foot on his shoulder at one point.
Eventually, she asked to see Garrison’s penis; he unzipped his pants and complied.
Seconds later, undercover police officers pulled up in a van and arrested Garrison; he was later charged with public indecency, a misdemeanor, based on video footage taken by cops who were targeting men having sex or masturbating in the park. While topless sunbathing is legal in the city’s parks, exposing more than that is against the law.
At Garrison’s trial, his attorney argued that it was a case of entrapment. “Columbus police utilized this topless woman to snare this man,” said Sam Shamansky. “He sees her day after day. He’s not some seedy pervert.”
I think this is a ridiculous thing for the police to be doing. Not only is it entrapment, I don’t believe public indecency is such a scourge that even non-entrapping sting operations are justified to fight it. This is clearly not an operation concocted by somewhat focused on the idea of “protect and serve.”