Judge rejects man’s discrimination suit for nudity arrest

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SAN DIEGO — A federal judge threw out a discrimination lawsuit filed by a man who claimed the San Diego Police Department conspired with organizers of the annual San Diego Pride Parade and Festival to enforce the city’s public nudity ordinance based on sexual orientation, the City Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Judge GavelPlaintiff William X. Walters, who attended the 2011 Pride Event wearing a gladiator-type black leather loincloth, was arrested for violating San Diego’s Nudity on Public Lands ordinance. Arresting officers said Walters was walking around the event with his buttocks exposed.

In her decision filed Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo held that, although there was evidence that Pride staff may have requested that SDPD “help get compliance” with the public nudity ordinance because families would be attending the event, there was no evidence of discrimination.

“The Court finds that plaintiff proffers no competent evidence from which a reasonable fact finder could conclude that Walters’ arrest was based on his sexual orientation, or that it resulted from an unequal enforcement policy or practice concerning public nudity,” the judge wrote. “Equally, there is no evidence that the San Diego Pride defendants entered into a conspiracy with the SDPD or willfully sought to implement an unlawful policy of discriminatory and selective enforcement of San Diego’s nudity laws.”

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith applauded SDPD and Pride organizers for doing their best to ensure compliance with the law.

“This was not a conspiracy, just good planning for a popular event,” Goldsmith said.

 

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