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San Francisco Cop Sues Over Antigay Discrmination

SFPD cruiser
Wikimedia Commons

The gay officer alleges he suffered harassment by colleagues and then retaliation when he reported it.

A gay police officer in the famously LGBTQ-friendly city of San Francisco is suing his department over antigay discrimination.

Brendan Mannix, 28, filed suit Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. He "accused members of the Police Department of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination based on his sexual orientation, and retaliating against a whistle-blower," according to the paper.

Mannix's suit says two sergeants repeatedly insulted him, calling him a "queen" and saying he was "too dramatic." He alleges that when he sought to report their behavior, no action was taken to stop it, while he faced retaliation.

Mannix graduated from the Police Academy in 2015 and was initially assigned to the Richmond Station for his field training. The problems began when he was assigned to Central Station in 2016, according to the suit.

"Mr. Mannix quickly noticed the 'Old Boys' Club' atmosphere of the station: Anyone who did not fit a precise mold -- broadly speaking, straight, cisgender, white and male -- was targeted for mistreatment; those who complained about it were treated even worse," his attorney, Lawrence Organ, writes in the suit.

Other personnel at the station, particularly the two sergeants, would harass Mannix, the suit claims, with derogatory comments about his hairstyle and slim build, along with accusations that he was in a sexual relationship with another gay officer there. They made comments such as "ugh, you gays" and used slurs for transgender people, he says.

His colleagues retaliated by failing to back him up on calls and giving him unfavorable assignments, Mannix says, and the response to a formal complaint he filed was "dismissive." Mannix took a three-month leave last year but is still employed with the department.

The department declined comment on the suit, but a spokesman told the Chronicle it takes "allegations of discrimination and officer misconduct seriously and will thoroughly investigate all complaints."

"The San Francisco Police Department is committed to diversity, tolerance and respect for the public and all of our members," spokesman David Stevenson continued. "Department members are sworn to hold each other accountable and required to act swiftly to report any misconduct."

Officials with the city attorney's office told the paper they hadn't yet seen the suit and couldn't comment directly on it. Spokesman John Cote added, "The city of San Francisco, including the Police Department, has been a leader on LGBT rights for decades and remains committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment for all."

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