How many of you have worn that very revealing gladiator outfit. You know the one. It's the one with not much to it at all. Jay, raise your hand. Did you know that costume could land you in jail? Well we didn't know either until Will X Walters found out the hard way in 2011 during San Diego Pride in Balboa Park.
Deputy City Attorney Stacy Plotkin-Wolff told the jury that police weren’t acting with bias that afternoon, they were merely enforcing the law as they do at every other special event in the city.
She said officers had contacted a handful of other gay pride attendees that day — including a man wearing chaps and exposing his buttocks and a woman without a shirt wearing pasties — and they all agreed to cover up so they could continue to enjoy the festival. Walters was the only one who would not comply, she said.
“The same rules apply to everyone equally,” she said in her opening statements. “Mr. Walters doesn’t believe those rules apply to him though.”
Walters, 35, had worn the same skimpy gladiator outfit in question at the previous San Diego Pride Parade and Festival without incident. The outfit, which he had custom-made for $1,000, consists of two loose leather flaps — 12-by-12-inch front and back panels — connected by a waist strap. Depending on movement and angle, the flaps can expose parts of his buttocks, police said.
According to the city’s nudity ordinance, a person’s body parts, including genitals and buttocks, must be concealed by an opaque covering.
In prior years, a 1-inch strip rule allowed g-strings at the pride event. But in 2011, police Lt. Dave Nisleit was the new special events supervisor and changed the rule to a more restrictive definition of nudity for the event, Morris said. – sandiegouniontribune.com
For more on this case, head over to the sandiegouniontribune.com where they have posted a video of Walters's lawyer discussing the case.
What the case boils down to is this:
Is San Diego’s public nudity law enforced the same at the beach as at Comic-Con? What about the Mardi Gras block party or annual gay pride festival?
That is the question eight jurors will be considering over the next week, as they listen to testimony in the federal lawsuit that accuses San Diego police officers of selectively enforcing the nudity law against Will X. Walters at the annual 2011 gay pride event in Balboa Park.
“In this case, the evidence will show Mr. Walters was treated differently,” Walters’ attorney, Chris Morris, said in his opening statements Tuesday.
Not because Walters had done something wrong, Morris said, rather “because of who he was, where he was and what he represented.”
Does your community / police crack down on rules and regulations during Pride or does it seem that they "let it all hang out" and allow unusual things to slide?
What will the outcome of this case be?
Walters is asking for unspecified damages for emotional distress caused by public humiliation, wrongful arrest and PTSD. He has racked up about $1 million in legal fees thus far, according to his legal team.