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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 24, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 34
SF cop sues department for discrimination and harassment
Section One
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SF cop sues department for discrimination and harassment

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

San Francisco may be Gay Mecca, but a San Francisco police officer is suing his department, charging the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) with sexual harassment, sexual discrimination based on his sexual orientation, and retaliating against a whistle-blower.

Officer Brendan Mannix says he was subjected to homophobic remarks by colleagues about his sexual orientation, including calling him a 'queen' and 'too dramatic,' and making disparaging comments about his masculinity.

When Mannix reported the behavior to his superiors, he says the department made no efforts to acknowledge or stop the harassment and instead retaliated against him by not providing him backup while on patrol and giving him 'unfavorable assignments at the station.'

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, said in court documents.

Two sergeants at Central Station were especially into harassing Mannix, the suit says. They made derogatory comments about his hairstyle and slim build, along with accusations that he was in a sexual relationship with another Gay officer there.

One sergeant, Organ said, would also mock Mannix's hair style and physical appearance, making comments like, 'Is that hair big enough?!' and 'How much do you weigh? One hundred pounds soaking wet?'

They also called him a 'queen,' he says, and said he was 'too dramatic.'

In his lawsuit, Mannix also says a sergeant 'talked positively about how 'back in the day,' the police would 'round up' all of the 'trannies' who were prostitutes.

When Mannix complained about the harassment, his colleagues retaliated by failing to back him up on calls and giving him unfavorable assignments, he charges, 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 San Francisco Chronicle that 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,' police 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 Chronicle they could not comment on Mannix's suit because they had not yet seen the documents. The city attorney's spokesperson, John Coté, 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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