November 25, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Gay man’s thong violates San Diego nudity law, says Jury

william_walters_pride_kilt_w_otl_pics_t658

BY MATTHEW BAJKO  |  A gay San Diego resident lost his federal lawsuit against the city and several police officers after a jury determined the public officials had not discriminated against him due to the leather outfit he wore to the 2011 Pride festival.

After five days of testimony, the eight-person jury announced its verdict Tuesday afternoon (December 13). It took just two hours to deliberate its decision.

As the The Pride noted in an online story December 8, the case had drawn attention statewide as it had the potential to impact how police departments throughout California enforce nudity laws at various community events, such as LGBT pride festivals, and outdoor gatherings.

The lawsuit centered on allegations that San Diego police use different standards when enforcing the city’s rules governing public nudity depending on the venue. It stemmed from an incident five years ago where police cited Will X. Walters for violating the nudity rules while attending that summer’s Pride festival.

Walters’ attorney, Chris Morris, had argued to the federal jury that the police enforced a more restrictive policy at the LGBT event than they did at straight venues like the beach or the annual Comic-Con gathering. Deputy City Attorney Stacy Plotkin-Wolff had countered that police not only had approached other Pride attendees about their outfits but also people at the more straight-oriented events.

“The jury confirmed what we’ve always known, which is that San Diego does not discriminate in its enforcement of nudity laws,” City Attorney’s Office spokesman Gerry Braun said in a statement. “Our office would not tolerate discrimination against the LGBT community or any other group.”

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told the San Diego Union Tribune that she was pleased with the verdict, telling the paper that the jury “confirmed our officers acted appropriately in the way they addressed the municipal code regarding nudity at special events throughout our city.”

In a statement Wednesday in response to the B.A.R.’s request for comment, a representative for Walters said despite his legal team presenting strong evidence of discriminatory enforcement by the police, the jury was nonetheless “unmoved.”

The press release included the same comment Morris had given to the Union Tribune yesterday, in which he stated he and Walters were “extremely disappointed” with the verdict. But he also said Walters’ lawsuit, nonetheless, would have a lasting impact on the police department.

“Victories are often preceded by defeats,” Morris told the paper. “While we may have lost this battle, I can’t imagine the city will ever engage in this type of unequal enforcement of the nudity statute again in the future.”

Walters has yet to comment publicly about the jury’s decision.

The legal case had wound its way through the courts since 2012, when Walters first filed a complaint against the city, several police officers, and Pride organizers. In March 2013 San Diego Pride’s motion for dismissal was granted, and Walters amended his complaint.

In 2014, U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo ruled in the city’s favor, and Walters appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel on the appellate court overturned her decision this past April and sent the case back for a jury to decide if the San Diego police had violated Walters’ 14th Amendment right to equal enforcement of the law.

He had sought unspecified damages for emotional distress, as he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following the incident. According to his lawyer, Walters has incurred $1 million in legal fees in pressing his case.

Walters, 35, attended both the 2011 Pride parade and the ticketed festival area adorned in a custom-tailored, fine-leather gladiator kilt and upper-torso leather harness outfit, which included thong underwear beneath. He had worn the same outfit, which cost him $1,000, the year prior without incident.

But while inside the gated festival area’s beer garden in 2011, Walters was approached by San Diego police Lieutenant (now Captain) David Nisleit and told his outfit was not compliant with the city’s dress code because his buttocks were visible. Walters disputed that his outfit was an issue and told the officer to either cite him or leave him alone.

Nisleit then left but returned a short while later with several other police officers and told Walters he was going to cite him for his outfit. Walters claims a female officer then grabbed him from behind and led him out of the beer garden and just outside of the festival area.

Eventually, the police told him they would cite him and he would then be free to go on his way, said Walters. But when he refused to sign the citation without being able to read it, he was arrested.

in NEWS
Related Posts

Tubi Increases LGBTQ+ Programming

November 22, 2020

November 22, 2020

In a day and age where representation matters Tubi, a free streaming service, is currently offering a premium selection of...

COVID-19 Cases Surging In Los Angeles

November 22, 2020

November 22, 2020

As California surpassed one million COVID-19 cases as the rate of infections continued to rise across the country, Los Angeles...

Oreo To Announce Rainbow Oreos- E.P.I.C Pride Show, November 18, 2020

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Oreo To Announce Rainbow Oreos...

#FreeBritney Rally

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Fans of Britney Spears, one of the most popular pop stars in the world, performed at a Free Britney rally...

Call Of Duty Non-Binary Characters

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

The newest game and seventeenth installment of the Call Of Duty series, Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, a...

Transgender Day Of Remembrance

November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020

The International Transgender Day Of Remembrance will be held on Nov. 20th, 2020. Trans Day Of Remembrance (TDoR) is a...

28% Of LGBTQ People Voted For Trump

November 15, 2020

November 15, 2020

After a tense 2020 election exit polls are now showing that 28% of LGBTQ people voted for Republican President Donald...

Britney Spears Loses Conservatorship Battle

November 15, 2020

November 15, 2020

Legendary pop princess Britney Spears has been in a long and drawn out court battle to remove her father, James...

Campus Pride Celebrates #GivingTuesday Campaign

November 15, 2020

November 15, 2020

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and their world....

Amy Coney Barrett Threat To LGBTQ People – E.P.I.C Pride Show, November, 11, 2020

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

E.P.I.C Pride, Highlighting the latest LGBTQ news in Entertainment, Politics, International affairs, and Culture. – Amy Coney Barrett Threat To...

The Right Size Condom For You

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

Condoms and sex seem to be a taboo subject for discussion. Health class 101 points out the male and female...

WeHo Sounds Virtual Concert Series

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

The City of West Hollywood is launching its 2020-21 WeHo Sounds Free Virtual Concert Series, which will take place on...

First Out Gay Immigrant Running For California State Assembly

November 8, 2020

November 8, 2020

Godfrey Santos Plata is the first out gay immigrant ever to run for California State Assembly for Assembly District 53. ...

City Of WeHo Celebrates Veterans Day 2020

November 8, 2020

November 8, 2020

The City of West Hollywood will honor veterans and active members of the United States Armed Forces during a virtual...

Equality Federation Responds To Historic Presidential Results

November 8, 2020

November 8, 2020

Equality Federation has issued a response to the historic results of the Nov. 3rd, 2020, election in which media outlets...