Palm Springs police chief retires in wake of gay sex sting controversy

Thu. January 6, 2011 1:06 PM by News Staff

david g. dominguez

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Palm Springs, CA - Palm Springs Police Chief David Dominguez says he'll resign after criticism over his department's handling of a sex sting operation targeting gays and his own admission to using anti-gay slurs.

The 55-year-old Dominquez announced Wednesday that he would retire after three years as police chief. The announcement follows a city inquiry into the 2009 incident and comes just a week after he issued a public apology for his "inappropriate comment."

The report found Dominquez, who was part of the undercover sting operation, and his officers were openly contemptuous of the gay men. Dominquez called the men caught in the sting "filthy motherf-----s." Another officer was caught on tape calling one man a "c---sucker."

19 men were arrested and charged with more serious crimes, potentially landing them on a list of sex offenders.

Critics claimed Dominquez and the Palm Springs police department unfairly targeted gay men in the sex stings, an accusation that has created a public relations nightmare for Palm Springs' tourism at its prominent gay community.

Though Palm Springs' LGBT population is estimated to be 40 percent, gay rights advocates note there is a lack of any openly gay male Palm Springs police officers.

Following the release of the inquiry findings in December, city leaders say officers and all other city employees will received LGBT sensitivity training.

Mayor Steve Pougnet, who is openly gay, says Dominquez's decision will allow the city to "begin the healing process."