Man who lost San Diego gay pride nudity lawsuit dies in apparent suicide
Will X. Walters, the man who tried suing San Diego police over a public nudity arrest at a gay pride festival, has reportedly committed suicide.
His body was found Wednesday evening at his Hillcrest apartment, according to authorities.
The death comes only two weeks after a federal jury ultimately sided with the police.
Chris Morris, Walters’ attorney, says his client was “shocked” by the December 13th verdict, and fled the courthouse immediately after the announcement.
The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Morris hadn’t heard from Walters following the verdict, despite trying to reach him several times. Friends also tried checking in, to no avail.
Police were called to his apartment by a neighbor on Wednesday evening.
Currently, the time of death isn’t known.
“Will Walters was a valiant warrior for his cause,” Morris said, “and he will be missed by those who knew him and the community he fought for.”
Walters felt his civil rights were violated in the 2011 arrest at the San Diego Pride Parade and Festival at Balboa Park.
He was arrested for wearing a custom-made gladiator outfit, with a kilt that didn’t completely cover his buttocks.
When he refused to cover up despite requests from the police, he was arrested for public nudity and taken to jail, where he refused to sign his misdemeanor citation.
The case went to trial in early December after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Walters.
The case went to trial earlier this month after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Walters’ favor. Originally, the lower court agreed with the city, dismissing the suit with a summary judgement.
Walters felt he was being discriminated against because of his sexual orientation, but the jury ultimately disagreed.
It was reported that Walters had racked up roughly $1 million in legal fees.
“He was a young activist,” said Nicole Murray-Ramirez, city Human Relations commissioner, “and many of us thought he had a bright future in our community, and it’s a loss to our community.”
She says Walters hoped the case would educate the public and law enforcement officers, despite the ultimate ruling.