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Taking it to the streets

Gazette staff February 17th, 2005

  CFN always has thought Brian Bates' whole deal as Oklahoma City's "Video Vigilante" was curious. Really, just what possesses a guy to follow prostitutes around with ...

Taking copy


CFN always has thought Brian Bates' whole deal as Oklahoma City's "Video Vigilante" was curious. Really, just what possesses a guy to follow prostitutes around with a video camera?


But the Oklahoma City Police never suffered such retrospection until recently. They often accepted Bates' videos of hookers soliciting johns for years, using these tips and tidbits provided by Bates to build a case against the johns. That is, until recently.


It seems the local master of prostitute footage has fallen on hard times. According to Ken  Raymond's report in The Oklahoman, Bates was arrested last week and booked into the OklahomaCounty jail on complaints of pandering and aiding and abetting prostitution.

According to Raymond's article, police spent four months(!) tracking Bates, allegedly using a local streetwalker as their own vigilante. The article said this hooker was wired for sound, and this time, they are the ones who got the tapes. The story said the hooker was approached by Bates, allegedly to lure johns into an area so that he might capture "good footage," described by Police Capt. Jeffrey Becker as a euphemism for graphic footage.


According to the story, police said Bates was offering a prostitute $40 to take a john in a particular area. Things went so far that, according to the report, the woman would redouble her efforts when she saw Bates was on the prowl.


Later, as described by Becker, Bates met with the woman to offer her $60, instead of the regular $40, and even went so far as to offer her $300 if she appeared in a movie he was planning with HBO (which hasn't responded to inquiries on the subject, the story says). Bates is reported to have given the prostitute a $50 advance.


And all the while, the prostitute was workin' for da heat, the story says.


This is a lot more complicated than it sounds. These allegations mean the police were employing a prostitute (isn't this pimping, too?), to catch Bates paying a prostitute, to catch johns paying a prostitute: a vice-bust three-way on the same hooker.


Oklahoma County District Attorney Wes Lane, who recently has contended with his own assistant DA being arrested on charges of paying a policewoman posing as a prostitute to perform a sex act, had a head-shaking quote regarding Bates' arrest.


"Bates has long complained that prostitution is not the oldest profession; it is the world's oldest abuse of women," Lane said in a written statement. "If these allegations prove true, he has been a participant in that."


Bates said the arrest damages his work.


"I am embarrassed and ashamed that my work is now being used to portray me in such a negative light," Bates posted on his Web site.


What makes CFN more curious is the change of heart that the police have undergone regarding Bates' pursuits. Could a four-month investigation by police have anything to do with the fact that Bates was also the guy who videotaped two police officers allegedly beating the bejeezus out of Donald Pete, a black man being arrested with a prostitute?


That incident caused police, city and law-enforcement officials to quell a near-riot once the tape hit the national airwaves, by making a lot of "can't we all just get along" speeches. Could Bates' criticism of their conduct in that case actually motivate law-enforcement officials to hire a prostitute?


How curiouser can things possibly get? CFN wonders who really is getting screwed here "¦

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