San Francisco

Lawsuit Could Put Wrinkle in SF Pride Celebration

Major changes may be in store for the San Francisco pride celebration later this month because of a lawsuit that questions the event's security.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, stems from a patron of last year's festivities who was shot. The suit demands more security and asks for millions in damages for the injured man. But organizers are pushing back, saying security is fine and the lawsuit is a money grab.

Attorney Ryan Lapine cites numerous cases of violence in recent years in calling for the same type of security seen at the Super Bowl City celebration in the city earlier this year, with barricades, metal detecting wands, bag searches and more.

"It is unfathomable that people could just walk in with weapons," he said.

But Sam Singer, who handles the media for SF Pride organizers disagrees.

"There's a special place in hell for private attorneys who use terrorist attacks to line their pockets and a client's pockets with money," Singer said. "This is not a closed event like Oracle. It's a big, public event. SFPD always takes good precautions; it's a very safe event."

The lawsuit requests at least $10 million for the victims of last year's event, but Lapine says first and foremost he wants security similar to what Pride events in other cities have.

In the wake of the Orlando shooting, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener had already sparked discussions with the LGBTQ community and the San Francisco Police Department about heightened security at SF Pride events taking place June 25-27.

At a Castro district makeshift memorial to the Orlando victims, some prospective event goers admitted the celebration could use more security.

"We definitely need more security; it would be a good thing," said Ben Goldstein.

"Additional security is necessary, and it's unfortunate," said Paul Horn. "But we need to protect our community."

The lawsuit demanding additional security will be heard in Superior Court on Thursday.

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