Only In San Francisco: Cops Can't Force Naked Men To Put On Clothes

On Black Friday, Rusty Mills and Lloyd Fishback stripped off all their clothes and headed down to Union Square with their genitalia flapping in the stiff winter wind. Mills wore only an Indian headdress and Fishback donned a pilgrim hat (Fishback says the hats tip off people that you're intentionally nude, not insane). They'd come to amuse or shock the shoppers -- depending on their 
The only code he's breaking is an aesthetic one.
sensibilities -- and it wasn't long until three cops rolled up responding to a woman's complaint.

But what happened next is what you could call an Only in San Francisco moment. Mills said two of the cops harangued them and threatened to arrest them if they saw them again. A third cop, who Mills recognized from patrolling the Castro, just told them to move on up the street. But none of the cops attempted to arrest the two.

In San Francisco, you can walk around nude on any day of the week on any street. Even if you're arrested, you'll probably be released after a couple of hours. Unless you're in a city park or a place that serves alcohol, it simply is not illegal to be naked.

As we wrote in this week's cover story "Overexposed," city law enforcement's interpretation of state law is that a naked person must be "lewd" in order to constitute indecent exposure -- meaning sexual gratification is involved. A nude person can also be arrested on grounds of being a public nuisance.

Nope, no arrest there.
But as was clarified in a police bulletin from Chief George Gascon in August, the aforementioned require a private citizen to sign a citizen's arrest card. And not a whole lot of folks want to go on the record as a prude in this city.

Now the nudists are growing emboldened. A dozen have taken to hanging out in the plaza at the corner of Market and 17th Street in broad daylight. (Why, you ask? Check out their blogs here, here and here.) The nudists have started calling it The Buff Stop. Some walk down the street nude, too, like Woody Miller strolling home from work:


Mostly the cops have just taken to warning them when someone has called in a complaint about them -- and then leave them alone.

Naked in a Castro bar, too.
Captain Greg Corrales of Mission Station, which oversees the Castro, says he tells officers to keep their distance to save face. "The policeman is right there with a ridiculous naked person in the middle of 18th and Castro and the only one that looks like a fool is the policeman, because there's absolutely nothing they can do about it unless they have a citizen's arrest."

There goes Barry in his fedora now:

My Voice Nation Help

Hi. Listen, I'm a Male Nudist from Canada, who is in total, and complete, 100% solidarity and support of the SF/Castro Nudist. This ban and what has been done to these people, was completely, uncalled for and un-needed. It was small minded, and highly, pitty. And only served once again, to show the sad, sorry, backward, and dictatorial, side of the United States. It seems, you tolerate almost, nothing anymore.

If this ban can succeed in a place like San Fransisco, and in a Gay Neighbourhood, too boot then, there is precious little hope of it anywhere. And there vertually, no hope for the United States. As this is NOT, PROGRESSIVE, TOLERANT, OR DEMOCRATIC, behavour. You have NOTHING, to be prode of here.

Hope the SF/ Castro Nudist fight back, and I hope this ban is overturned. And soon.

As there are as many people out there who SUPPORT, these peole, you knows, as those who are AGAINST, them. And don't the Nudist and the Rest of Us, get ANY, say in all this AT ALL?! Currently, it seems not. And again; that's NOTHING, to be Smug, and Prode About. Nothing at all. Out.

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