Man Settles Lawsuit with Richmond, Va., Police Over Postcard Recommending HIV Test
A Richmond, Va., man previously acquitted of indecent exposure Thursday settled the lawsuit he filed against city police alleging that they "prosecuted him maliciously and slandered him" by sending a postcard recommending that he be tested for HIV, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Johnny Lee Bodrick, arrested after a police officer identified him as a man who exposed himself in a park bathroom in December 1998, was acquitted of the charges in April 1999. Bodrick's attorney, David Baugh, called the settlement a "tolerable compromise" after Bodrick sued over the postcard, which the suit claimed falsely implied he committed a felony and had "a contagious disease offensive to society." Richmond city police have mailed more than 50 postcards since November 1998 to men accused of what police considered sex-related offenses as part of Operation Clean Park. The program was criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and gay-rights organizations when it was made public in February 1999. Baugh said, "They don't send out postcards to heterosexuals picking up hookers. It's nothing but homophobia personified" (Cooper, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.