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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Racial Justice
Supervisor Scott Wiener Called Racist After Black Nudist Protester is Tossed in Jail
The only black protester at the nudity ban vote in city hall on December 4, 2012, was held nude inside a van, subsequently arrested and thrown in jail allegedly at the request of Supervisor Scott Wiener.
It wouldn’t be San Francisco if some people didn’t get naked after the Board of Supervisors narrowly passed the nudity ban in a second vote on Tuesday, December 4. 2012. As was the case after the first vote on November 20, deputies had powder blue blankets at the ready to cover the nudists. What was different than the vote two weeks earlier is that the naked protesters were detained without explanation in the basement of city hall for nearly an hour.
That is, except for one of the nudists. Ercell Fleurima, the only African American nudist in the otherwise all white group of about a dozen male and female protesters was thrown naked in the back of a sheriff’s van in the parking lot just outside the city hall lower level service doors.
While in the back of the van, Ms. Fleurima was totally nude and alone with a male deputy, who she claims was taking directions via cell phone on what to do with her from Supervisor Scott Wiener himself.
Fleurima was charged with “disrupting a government meeting” and resisting arrest.
Activist Gypsy Taub, who was also one of the nudists participating in the disrobing, contacted Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Taub has been a staunch Mirkarimi supporter during his legal troubles and attempted ouster by the mayor earlier this year.
“I did not order the protesters detained or arrested”, the sheriff told Taub and a small group of other activists.
Mirkarimi said he did not support the nudity ban and asked to have details of the melee in the Board of Supervisors Chambers and subsequent detention of the activists sent to him by email.
A nude male protester who was part of the detained group said, “She, (Fleurima), wasn’t doing anything different than the rest of us. Yet only the black lady gets arrested. This is blatant racism on orders from Wiener”. He declined to give his name, citing fear of retribution.
Taub and other activists worked to get information on the fate of Fleurima following the arrest, and learned she was being held at the detention center in the Hall of Justice on $8,000 bail. Later that evening she was released without bond.
Following her release Fleurima posted this statement online, “I was the only person arrested for being black, undressed and Supervisor Wiener from District 8 had the sheriff deputies take me to jail on some bulls--t charges. Out of all the white nudists I was selected for arrest. Not only that, I heard them, (the deputies), talking about waiting for a phone call from him, (Wiener), on how to proceed while I was in the van”.
Supervisor Scott Wiener did not answer email inquiries about why he may have ordered Ms. Fleurima arrested. His legislative aide Andres Power declined comment via telephone on the arrest fiasco saying, “We don’t appreciate these kind of prank calls”.
At an arraignment hearing on Monday, December 10, 2012, the ADA assigned to the case told the Judge that the charges were being dropped and the case against Fleurima was dismissed.
While Fleurima did disclose that she was undergoing medical treatment for injuries she sustained in the van, she would not say if she planned to file a complaint against the city or otherwise pursue the matter in civil court.
Fleurima concluded, “It's not about just being nude, its freedom of expression”.