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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | LGBTI / Queer
Ignorant cops impose genitaphobia on protester...
.... at SF Pride 2006.
Open letter to SF Pride:
[ info [at] sfpride.org]
[ board_president [at] sfpride.org ]
At the SF Pride celebration, I was leafletting and picketing nude for peace,
at Larkin near Fulton, on Sunday afternoon, 25 June 2006.
Several police officers walked by,
ignoring my nudity.
Later, two other police officers approached me, and politely told me I had to "cover up".
Without using precise language, they clearly meant covering my genitals.
Fearing possible arrest, I put on panties.
Then I told them that my nude protest was lawful;
and I asked them to consult their supervising sergeant about this. They agreed to consult their sergeant. I also asked them to give the sergeant one of my political leaflets; but they repeatedly refused to take or deliver a leaflet.
Having intimidated me into downscaling my protest, and having deprived me of my civil rights "under color of law", they strolled away.
I continued demonstrating in Larkin Street.
Now that I was clothed, passers-by paid far less
attention to me, my leaflets, or my picket sign.
I was hoping an SFPD sergeant (or higher officer) would approach me to discuss my constitutional right to protest nude; and the lack of any state law or city ordinance prohibiting "mere" (non-lewd) nakedness in city streets. Most officers at SF Pride events already understand that thy should leave nude picketers alone; but two clearly didn't get the message.
However, no sergeant, nor any other SFPD officer, spoke to me. Eventually I want to another part of the festival zone, where I remained clothed for the rest of the day.
De facto, I was constructively deprived of my freedom of expression. I could sue the SF Police Department,
but I prefer to turn the other cheek.
Later in the afternoon, in Golden Gate Avenue,
I met a nude activist from another California city.
He reported that he had been naked for hours, and that no cops had spoken to him.
So apparently the cops who censored me were out-of-step with department policy,
and with their colleagues at this event.
Let's charitably attribute their malfeasance
to mere ignorance, not malice.
I ask SF Pride to discuss this matter with SFPD,
trying to ensure that cops will respect
civl liberties of peace demonstrators at Pride 2007.
For freedom until death,
Tortuga Bi Liberty,
for Senior Unlimited Nudes (SUN) of SF
25 June 2006