General Crime

Judge Finds Three Activists Guilty of Violating San Francisco Nudity Ban

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Three nudist activists were found guilty in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday of violating the citywide public nudity ban that went into effect in February, the trio’s attorney said today. Russell Allen, Oxane “Gypsy” Taub and George Davis were arrested and cited for violating the new law by disrobing at a rally outside City Hall on Feb. 1, the day the ordinance went into effect. Defense attorney Christina DiEdoardo sought to have the case against the three dismissed, arguing that police only had a right to detain them, not arrest them. She said people should not be arrested for a simple citation unless they refuse to sign the citation, cannot establish their identity or refuse to provide a thumbprint.

However, a traffic court judge on Tuesday afternoon found the trio guilty and ordered them each to pay a $100 fine and $92 in court fees, DiEdoardo said. The attorney said she plans to appeal the judge’s decision within the next 30 days. The nudist activists have filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to get the ordinance overturned, with the next hearing tentatively scheduled for next month, DiEdoardo said. The nudity ban, authored by Supervisor Scott Wiener, was approved in a 6-5 vote at the Board of Supervisors in December. It includes certain exceptions, including for children under the age of 5 and for permitted events like the Folsom Street Fair and Bay to Breakers.

DiEdoardo alleged that police are only targeting the activists who have filed the lawsuit while letting other public nudity go unpunished, including during a naked bike ride that took place in the city over the weekend for Earth Day. “The only people who get cited for the ordinance are the plaintiffs in the lawsuit,” she said. “They want to punish people for having the temerity to challenge Supervisor Wiener.” Wiener had sought the ban, citing complaints from businesses and residents about a growing number of nudists who frequented Jane Warner Plaza in the city’s Castro District.

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