Nudity Ban Protest Takes An Unexpectedly Violent Turn

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Inti Gonzalez
On Saturday, self-described Body Freedom activists gathered inside Jane Warner Plaza at Castro and Market to commemorate, and protest against, the 1-year anniversary of San Francisco's public nudity ban.

But the typically peaceful "nude-ins" took an unexpected turn when a cop wrestled a nudist to the ground after refusing to sign a citation officers issued him.

Introduced by openly gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener in 2012, the public nudity ban is meant to clothe the growing tide of nudists who were making it a common occurrence to walk around the neighborhood in the buff.

Neighborhood residents have been sharply divided on this issue. Many have stated that they have no problem with naked people in public and were more concerned with the rising cost of housing in the neighborhoods. But just as many -- if not more -- expressed relief when the ban was passed.

Saturday's Nude-In was quiet and peaceful -- at first.

George Davis, a plaintiff in the recent lawsuit which attempted to overturn the ban, took to the podium. As he removed the large, rainbow-covered sock which covered his penis, Davis shouted the word "cocksucker!" Davis was arrested at the Nude-in before SF Weekly could speak to him. He did not respond to an email requesting comment.

As the Nude-In continued, longtime nude activist Rusty Mills took to the podium. As he began to speak, an officer gave the nudists a five-minute warning to get dressed or get out.

A moment later, Mill's speech was interrupted by cries coming from nudist Gameli Anumu.

Anumu, already on the ground, was wailing in pain as several officers held him down and handcuffed him. As Anumu was taken to the paddy wagon, numerous attendees shouted accusations of police brutality. Gypsy Taub and Davis were also cuffed and arrested, without incident.

Anumu later told SF Weekly that he had kept a black censor card in front of his crotch area for most of the rally in order to remain in compliance with the code. He uncovered himself only as the other protesters did. Anumu admits that he had refused to sign a citation given to him by the officer.

"They didn't announce that the five minutes were up," he said. "The officer grabbed my arm and told me that I was now in violation. I immediately covered myself back up. He had already started dragging me towards police vehicles when he asked if I was going to sign a citation. I am not at all used to having physical force used on me. I said "no" in disbelief. I was thrown to the ground and roughly handcuffed and ziptied."

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Inti Gonzalez
We later contacted SFPD to get their side of the story.

"Signing a citation is not an admission of guilt," said SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza. "It means that you agree to appear before a magistrate. "My understanding is that the person cited for resisting arrest tried to move away from the officers. You must obey a police officer's order whether you believe the order is right or not."

Esparza said that force was considered a last resort, which many police officers try to avoid. "Penal Code 835 says officers may use reasonable force when there is resistance," he said.

Many attendees at the protest felt that excessive force was used. Anumu, they said, could have been held back without being wrestled to the ground.

"He was standing next to me," said Oakland resident Kelsey Beyer. "They asked him to sign the citation. He said that he was wearing something.They threw him down. He was screaming, obviously in pain, and bleeding. This was obviously meant to intimidate everyone."

Anumu feels no animosity towards the officer who initiated his arrest and spoke very kindly of a transport officer he encountered afterward. "He recognized me from previous arrests. He made conversation. He didn't treat me like a violent criminal. He did his best to explain what was happening and what to expect. He told the officers he passed me along to not to worry about me and to keep me safe. I cried when I thanked him for being so nice to me."

The nudists vow to continue defying the nudity ban until it is repealed.
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26 comments
douglas
douglas

i'm so sick of this whole thing.  these so-called nudists picked a neighborhood and a district supervisor that don't appreciate them - so why don't they just go over to the mission since supervisor david campos says he doesn't have a problem with them.  seems to me this is not about body freedom but it's about harassing supervisor weiner and harassing my neighors and i. I am a gay man and live in the castro and want these perverts running around naked and waving their genitals in everyone's faces - and yes they are perverts - to go away.  just go away already.  isn't it more than obvious this neighborhood does not want you around.  just go away. 

trey.e.allen
trey.e.allen

Shame on Scott Wiener. Police Brutality is the natural result of laws limiting people's freedom. Violence is NEVER the answer. The right of Assembly was violated. The right of free speech no matter how obscene was violated. Civl rights died a little that day. 


I'd like to take a minute to respond to the horrifying comments allowed by SF Weekly who apparently has very low standards for commenting (which should be reformed to improve SF Weekly's professionalism). 


For those people who comment on this article like "he may have been a pederast"

This is the same argument used by pro-prop 6 Briggs Initiative propagandists. They would say, don't let homosexuals teach children in public schools because homosexuals are pederasts. They had no evidence to back this up and it ended up causing greater harm to the LGBT community by stigmatizing them. 


This is the same argument used by prop-prop 8 propagandists who disparaged gay families because of their sexual orientation. Many commercials that were funded by the Mormon Church used scare tactics and fear mongering to get people to vote a law that was later found unconstitutional. It is possible that in the future, this law Ordinance 154* will be considered unconstitutional. Many of the pro-prop 8 organizations implied that gays and lesbians are unhealthy, non-productive, predators who wan to recruit your children. Harvey Milk proved that wrong. Dan White, the assassin of Geroge Moscone and Harvey Milk said that he wanted "to rid san francisco of radicals, social deviates (homosexuals), and incorrigibles."*

We don't need more Dan Whites. We need more Harvey Milks!


and "good... should have tazed him tooooo..." 

This comment shows a complete lack of empathy. The human was tackled to the ground. When I was arrested they kindly asked us to walk to the police van and they escorted us by the arm. This was over the top brutality, excessive force and not uncommon in the San Francisco Police Force. Encouraging an increase of the use of force by using weapons and encouraging the weaponizing of non-violent protest shows a privileged perspective of the situation. 


and "he had a weapon" 

I am amazed that SF Weekly will allow this type of exchange. It is irresponsible and shows that they are not committed to reason and dialogue in their comments sections. REFORM is needed. 

This comment is inflammatory and fabricates a false narrative. This is the same type of ugly discourse that lets people like George Zimmerman, who confessed to killing 19 y.o. Trayvon Martin. Claiming that someone has a weapon, when you weren't even there, is dangerous to civil discourse!!! We need level heads when it comes to discussing these issues not inflammatory and false statements implying that the victim deserves the punishment. Punishment is to be handed down from courts, NOT POLICE!!!


and "those guys are sexual predators"

This is the same argument used by pro-prop 6 Briggs Initiative propagandists. They would say, don't let homosexuals teach children in public schools because homosexuals are pederasts. They had no evidence to back this up and it ended up causing greater harm to the LGBT community by stigmatizing them. 


This is the same argument used by prop-prop 8 propagandists who disparaged gay families because of their sexual orientation. Many commercials that were funded by the Mormon Church used scare tactics and fear mongering to get people to vote a law that was later found unconstitutional. It is possible that in the future, this law Ordinance 154* will be considered unconstitutional. Many of the pro-prop 8 organizations implied that gays and lesbians are unhealthy, non-productive, predators who wan to recruit your children. Harvey Milk proved that wrong. Dan White, the assassin of Geroge Moscone and Harvey Milk said that he wanted "to rid san francisco of radicals, social deviates (homosexuals), and incorrigibles."*

We don't need more Dan Whites. We need more Harvey Milks!


"They should be banned from public nudity. Come on people. No one wants to see your naked fat stomachs and fat asses. You know, tourists come here and see that then wonder "What fucking planet are we on here??". It looks like a fruitcake circus. Just looking at that picture makes me want to vomit. It's never hot chicks that are naked. It's always fucking guys with their fucking balls hanging out. Eesh!"

There are so many offensive things with this comment I'm seriously going to write a letter to SF Weekly. This is a shame that they let disparaging comments about anyone to be posted on their site! This is offensive speech. We should have the right to voice our opinions in ways that are respectful. 

This statement says "no one wants to see your naked fat stomachs and fat asses." 

This is demeaning and many people who are "fat" may take offense to framing the issue as ugly if people are fat. First of all those people weren't fat. Secondly, even if they were this statement disparages people who are "fat". Everyone's body is their own and social commentary criticizing a "type" of body is furthering the stigma and prejudice that "fat" people experience every day. SHAME.

I'll highlight the most offensive statements as there is so much I could comment on. 

The use of the word "fruitcake circus" is again using words in the pejorative to further prejudice and stigmatization. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE in any forum especially at SF WEEKLY. Shame on the commenter and SF Weekly. 


This is all the ugliness I can handle. Words hurt and I would appreciate a more intellectual and civil debate on these issues but the opponents of body freedom have no ammunition except pejoratives, prejudicial statements, and fear mongering. 



*Footnotes

http://www.sfbos.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/bdsupvrs/ordinances12/o0234-12.pdf

http://thecastro.net/milk/whitepage.html

Kevin Kirby
Kevin Kirby

He may have been a pederast. We can't have any of those running about, now, can we?

Chris Vasquez
Chris Vasquez

good....... should have tazed him toooo.....

stephenrcollison
stephenrcollison

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Steve Tidd
Steve Tidd

You know what those guys are?? They're really sexual predators hoping some 14 year old girl sees their big hairy cocks. You know what the cops should've done?? They should've kicked them all right in the gonads and teach 'em a lesson.

Sean Kelly
Sean Kelly

I'm sure he would not be wailing in pain by being cuffed on the ground if he had pants on..

Steve Tidd
Steve Tidd

They should be banned from public nudity. Come on people. No one wants to see your naked fat stomachs and fat asses. You know, tourists come here and see that then wonder "What fucking planet are we on here??". It looks like a fruitcake circus. Just looking at that picture makes me want to vomit. It's never hot chicks that are naked. It's always fucking guys with their fucking balls hanging out. Eesh!

Will Telgemeier
Will Telgemeier

get your own colony for that nudist shit...seriously

Will Telgemeier
Will Telgemeier

man fuck these nudists. nobody needs to see that in public especially kids... i think the cops should have gave them all tickets. excessive force?? more like put your clothes on and get outta here!!

Christopher Cox
Christopher Cox

its January! Put some f/ing clothes on A/hole...do that bs at home!

Dante Forrest
Dante Forrest

no need for brutality ... they were not violent people .. whether one agrees or disagrees people have the right to protest in America and not be beaten up for it

Gabriel Lampert
Gabriel Lampert

Looking at this photo, with a policeman wrestling on top of a naked man on the street, you have to ask yourself: 1: Who is causing harm? and 2. Who is the pervert? Of course, you can say that the cops are following Mayor Daley's old slogan "The police are not there to create disorder; they are there to preserve disorder."

Daniel Whittaker
Daniel Whittaker

Reason #3,476 why Sup. Weiner needs to be thrown out of office the next time he's up for election. He's an embarrassment to all gay, progressive San Franciscans.

Robert Penman
Robert Penman

Ricky Koo, and we thought this was a square dancing competition! ;)

Heather Francesca
Heather Francesca

Ugh, I can't help but visualize genitals scraping the asphalt.

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