Gay Officer Accuses San Francisco Police Department of Sexual Harassment

Brendan Mannix says the bullying got worse after he reported the discrimination.

A San Francisco police officer alleges he was repeatedly harassed by his superiors because he is gay.

According to a lawsuit filed this week against the city, Brendan Mannix has accused members of the SFPD of “sexual harassment, sexual discrimination based on his sexual orientation, and retaliating against a whistle-blower,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Mannix, 28, claims the department did nothing to stop the homophobic harassment when he reported the behavior. His colleagues allegedly retaliated by giving him unfavorable assignments and failing to back him up on calls.

Mannix graduated from the Police Academy in 2015 and transferred the next year to the Central Station, finding what he calls an “old boys’ club” where anyone not “straight, cisgender, white and male” was targeted for harassment.

Mannix’s attorney, Lawrence Organ, writes that two sergeants frequently made disparaging comments about his client’s sexual orientation, calling him a “queen,” “too dramatic,” and insulting his masculinity.

According the suit, one sergeant suggested Mannix was in a sexual relationship with the other gay officer at the station. When Mannix exhibited behavior the sergeant considered stereotypically gay, he would say, “Ugh, you gays!” or “God, you gays!”

The sergeant also mocked Mannix’s physical appearance, including his hair and weight. He also “talked positively about how ‘back in the day,’ the police would ‘round up’ all of the ‘trannies’” who were prostitutes.

When Mannix confronted the sergeants in a conference room, asking them to stop the harassment, one sergeant allegedly got in his face and said, “If you think I am a bully, file a fucking complaint.”

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mannix, who is still employed as a SFPD officer, took a three-month leave beginning May 2017 to “maintain his mental health.” He filed a formal complaint upon his return but claims the sergeant who took the report was “dismissive” and omitted many incidents reported.

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

Sergeant Tony Montoya took over the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) in May, marking the first time an openly gay person has lead the San Francisco police union.

“We have a large lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender presence on the police force, and it’s also reflective of what the city represents,” Montoya said. “So for me it’s never been an issue.”

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