Nude ban sparks charges over restroom photo of Supervisor Scott Wiener, more drama

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Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
“Scott Wiener was standing at the urinal and just started to tinkle as I entered and the camera took 4-6 seconds to focus
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As an upstart blogger faces a criminal charge for an attempted gotcha photo of nudity ban sponsor Scott Wiener, more drama is expected today with plans for another “nude-in” at a Board of Supervisors hearing.

Blogger Michael Petrelis, a Castro gay-rights activist and perennial critic of Wiener’s policies, wrote an October post describing his attempt to photograph the supervisor as he was urinating in the second-floor men’s bathroom at City Hall.

“Scott Wiener was standing at the urinal and just started to tinkle as I entered and the camera took 4-6 seconds to focus, enough time for him to put away his wiener and zip up,” wrote Petrelis, whose only photo documented Wiener at the men’s room sink with his toothbrush and toothpaste.

A few weeks later, Petrelis wrote that he was contacted by Sheriff’s Department deputies who had questioned him about the incident. Last week, Petrelis was charged under a penal code section prohibiting cameras and other surveillance devices in areas “in which the occupant has a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Wiener released a statement describing the scenario much as Petrelis did, having confirmed a hasty attempt to finish urinating, followed by at least one definitive conclusion: “I did not want to remain in the restroom with Petrelis.”

Meanwhile, nudist activists plan to publicly disrobe again today if the Board of Supervisors undertakes the perfunctory final approval of the ban, which could be enforced as soon as Feb. 1, depending on a First Amendment legal challenge nudists plan to file in federal court.

After the initial vote on the ban, Wiener criticized what he described as a lax response by the Sheriff’s Department deputies charged with keeping order in the board chambers. But deputies at City Hall have unofficially retorted that the protest was ejected from the room within about four minutes.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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