A Philadelphia gay couple was reunited after a day of intense partying, including a trip to a gay bar in the suburbs, the latest in a series of legal victories against the city.
The couple, Michael and Philadelpha Johnson, filed a civil rights lawsuit on Friday that names Philadelphia, city, the city manager and two city police officers.
The suit claims they were racially profiled in February after they were stopped by Philadelphia police for speeding.
The officers allegedly searched their car and then allegedly arrested them.
The pair says the officers did not identify themselves as police.
“The officers acted with a bias against the plaintiffs based on race and gender,” the lawsuit says.
“They used racial slurs, threatened to arrest the plaintiffs, beat them, and threatened them with violence.”
The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing, but they were placed on administrative leave after the lawsuit was filed.
The city and officers were not immediately available for comment.
The Johnsons, who were divorced last year, say they were trying to set up a gay pride march at the Gay Pride parade when the incident happened.
They said they were asked for identification, but were told the officers were in the car and did not have identification.
The police report says the men were asked by the officers to leave and were searched and then arrested.
The lawsuit alleges that when they were later released, they were searched again by the police, this time without identification.
It alleges the officers then allegedly forced the men to strip, placed them in a police car, searched their cars, and allegedly searched them again.
The two men said they tried to contact the police on the night of their arrest, but it was not immediately clear how long they were out of communication.
They say they then went to a bar, where the officers told them to strip again, this one for a drug test.
“It was obvious that the officers knew we were not there for drugs,” Michael Johnson said.
“We knew they were searching us for drugs, but we were still confused and uncomfortable.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
The attorney representing the city and police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
A federal judge last year denied the city’s request for a preliminary injunction.
Philadelphia is the only major U.S. city that has an ordinance against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but the city has faced lawsuits over the ordinance for years.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, a group representing gay and lesbian residents, applauded the Johnsons’ legal victory.
“Philadelphia should be commended for coming forward and taking action against discriminatory police practices,” said Adam Winkler, the group’s senior staff attorney.
“This is a rare victory for our LGBT neighbors, who have been subjected to humiliating and degrading policing practices, including unlawful searches of their cars and police badges.”
The case is expected to go to trial sometime in 2019.