Cop Sues SFPD for Suspending Him Because He Likes Photographing Naked Women

police-camera.jpg
A Jimmy McNulty-approved hobby.
[Woman sits alone at bar. Man approaches, offers to buy her a drink. Woman accepts. Man takes seat at empty stool beside woman. Small talk materializes. Occasional smiles, giggles, and hair twirling. Conversation advances.]

Woman: So, like, what do you do for fun?

Man: Well, I like photographing naked woman ... but, like, in an artistic sort of way.

[Pause scene.]

There are two kinds of men who might say this to a woman: 1. Bold men,  and  2. Men who actually photograph naked women in an artistic sort of way (is there any other?).

Officer Gared Hansen is both (although it is unknown and irrelevant whether he has ever used the above line at a bar). To wit: The San Francisco police officer is suing the city because, he charges, the Police Department wrongfully suspended him twice for his hobby: photographing naked women.

As the Chronicle reported:

[T]he department suspended him twice, in 2009 and 2010, because "it did not approve of plaintiff's artistic expression," according to the suit filed Thursday. It asserts the photography was done on Hansen's own time "with absolutely no connection to his employment."

The civil rights suit, filed in federal court in Oakland, did not cite the specific reason for the 2009 suspension, which lasted five days. The 2010 suspension, which lasted 10 days, according to the complaint, came after Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies caught Hansen, who is 36 and has been an officer for seven years, and two models trespassing inside an abandoned hotel for a photoshoot.

Hansen's website, which displayed many of the nude photos, did offer a warning of "nudity presented in artistic form." While the site doesn't seem to be online anymore, a cursory Internet search does pull up a small slice of his work-- here, here, here, and here.

The sampling is certainly tame by 2012 standards, and nowhere near as embarrassing to his employers than their using a computer system that can only classify the race of an arrestee as black, white, or "other."

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