A traveler is stopped as he tries to make his way past policemen who had cordoned off an area at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, Dec. 31, 2013. Reuters

Police officers targeted gay men for arrest on bogus charges in the bathrooms of New York City's largest bus terminal, according to a class action lawsuit filed on Monday.

The lawsuit alleges that plainclothes officers with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey targeted men they perceived to be gay for arrests on baseless charges of exposure and public lewdness. According to the suit, officers pretended to use urinals next to men they perceived to be gay and would then stare at the suspects over privacy dividers, and in some cases would "actually step back from the urinal in order to see around the privacy wall, in an effort to view the target's hands and genitals," according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Manhattan federal court by the Legal Aid Society and the law firm of Winston & Strawn.

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A team of officers would then arrest the men as they left the men's room, the suit said, and "falsely (claim) that they were engaged in illegal conduct."

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued that Port Authority police discriminated against men according to their actual or perceived sexual orientation in order to increase quality of life arrest statistics.

"The PAPD have continued to make such targeted arrests knowing or believing that most of those arrested will ultimately be forced to plead to lesser charges to avoid public embarrassment and humiliation, costly legal fees, and jail sentences, as well as reputational and professional harm associated with the false charges," the suit said.

The Port Authority declined to comment on the suit. The Port Authority is a joint venture between New York and New Jersey that manages shipping terminals, bridges, tunnels, airports and waterfront developments, as well as the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan.