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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bay to Breakers Nudity: Is It Really Illegal?

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Gameli Anumu's arrest at Castro Nude-in in February. - INTI GONZALEZ
  • Inti Gonzalez
  • Gameli Anumu's arrest at Castro Nude-in in February.

So is it legal to show your junk while running in Bay to Breakers? Is it OK if thousands of people see your wee-wee bouncing up and down while you dash madly through the streets of San Francisco?

If you ask Gameli Anumu, a body freedom activist who participates in the never-ending nude-ins at Jane Warner Plaza, he's convinced nobody running au natural at Bay to Breakers is a criminal. 

But if you ask Officer Albie Esparza, he will disagree.

In February, we reported on Anumu's arrest at a Castro Nude-in. Though the prolific nudist was clearly in violation of the law when he exposed his manly parts, a number of those who witnessed the incident agreed that the police used excessive force. Some went as far as to say that Anumu was intentionally hurt.

Anumu is launching new complaints about police and nudity. He claims the cops were harassing naked participants at Sunday's Bay to Breakers footrace, where most participants are dressed in awesomely ridiculous costumes -- and others come dressed in nothing but their birthday suits.

However, Officer Esparza denies that cops were out there taking down the unclothed.

"Police do not harass people," Esparza said. "Let's get that right. Police are enforcers of the law enacted by the people. We do not make laws."

He went on to note that the San Francisco Municipal Code states that nudity is against San Francisco law, "the exception is any person under age five, or a permitted parade, fair or festival held under a city or other government issued permit."

Gameli Anumu's arrest at Castro Nude-in in February. - INTI GONZALEZ
  • Inti Gonzalez
  • Gameli Anumu's arrest at Castro Nude-in in February.
Inti Gonzalez
Gameli Anumu's arrest at Castro Nude-in in February.
"The event was not a sanctioned event where nudity was allowed," Esparza told us. "We were there to enforce the laws as applicable. The event organizer must obtain the permit for allowing it."

Apparently, a number of runners decided to flaunt "it" after being encouraged to do so by a mysterious Craigslist ad which appeared last week. Esparza said that District 5 Supervisor London Breed also encouraged runners to go naked.

According to Chron report last week, the Supervisor acknowledged that there would be naked runners. She then invited everyone with nice six-pack abs to come out. "She was kidding!" Breed's aide Conor Johnston assured SF Weekly.

Although he didn't get a permit himself, Gameli Anumu insists that he and his lady friend were well within their rights to run nude on Sunday. "The way the law is

written, I believe that as long as Bay to Breakers is an event with City

permits, nudity is legal for anyone participating," he told us..

So then was Anumu and the other nudists within their rights?

Reps for Supervisor Scott Wiener, who authored the law, and MTA's Cindy Shamban, who's office handles street closures for fairs ans special events, told SF Weekly that they're not aware of an application for a nudity exemption for Bay to Breakers.

But at the 11th hour, we got an email from Conor Johnston. "I checked with the City Attorney, and he confirmed by reading of the code," Johnston wrote. "The nudity ban at the police code does not apply at this event."

Despite all the nakedness that took place at B2B, only one person was cited for public nudity, according to Officer Esparza. That one went to none other than the city's most famous nudist, Oxane "Gypsy" Taub.

In the other cases, Esparza said anyone busted being nude was asked to get dressed, only those (in this case one person) who didn't comply were cited. He noted that it's not an easy thing to enforce at a footrace.

"If we were able to enforce it, we would," Esparza told us. "A lot of them are running and we're not going to run after them for an infraction and we're not going to disrupt the race."


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