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Lawsuit Threatens To End San Francisco Pride Festival Once And For All

by Dan Tracer May 20, 2016

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An injunction has been filed in an attempt to force the city of San Francisco to shutter its Civic Center Pride festival, a free event attended by upwards of one million people each year. The reason, however, may not be what you’d expect.

There’s a cold, hard truth to San Francisco Pride that at some point during the weekend’s festivities, a senseless act of violence can cast a shadow over the revelry. Now two victims who were injured during a 2013 shooting at the festival have joined a suit to put an end to the upcoming June 2016 gathering.

The action was announced in a release by the Beverly Hills firm of Rosenfeld, Meyer, and Susman — the same firm that represented Trevor Gardner, an LA man who was also shot at the 2013 festival. Gardner sued SF Pride and its Celebration Committee for $10 million, saying the injury hurt his prospects at a career as a physical trainer. His lawyers argued that the committee had been negligent in controlling security in and around the festival, and in 2015, Gardner reached an undisclosed settlement with the organization.

The new complaint references incidents of gunfire at Pride events each year since 2011, and makes note of the fact that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence decided to walk away from hosting the Pink Saturday street party in the Castro in part because a Sister was attacked in an alleged hate crime at the event in 2014. Pink Saturday has been canceled altogether in 2016 for security reasons.

Also mentioned are internal emails form SF Pride that discuss the impossibility of fully securing the massive street festival, and promote alcohol sales at the event.

If successful, the suit would claim another beloved SF Pride tradition. While the parade would still take place, it would be a major loss for the 99.999% of nonviolent participants who plan to attend the Civic Center celebration.

What do you think — do a few rotten apples spoil the barrel, or should the city do what it can to offer security, cross its fingers and hope for the best?

h/t SFist




Dan Tracer
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