Gay San Francisco Cop Claims Discrimination, Says Department Intentionally Ignored Request for Backup

A San Francisco cop says he was harassed by his superiors and colleagues because of his sexual orientation. SFPD officer Brendan Mannix is suing the city, claiming members of the force made comments about his sexuality and his appearance. He also alleges that, in at least one instance, his call for backup while apprehending a suspect was intentionally ignored.

San Francisco cop

In a suit filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, Mannix, 28 said two sergeants made frequent comments, including calling him a “queen,” and “too dramatic.” When he tried to report the harassment, there was no effort made to stop it.

In fact Mannix, who still employed as a San Francisco cop, says he faced retaliation.

A rep for the SFPD said the department could not comment on pending litigation but that it takes “allegations of discrimination and officer misconduct seriously.”

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

Mannix graduated from the police academy in May 2015 and was assigned to a station in Richmond Station. In the fall of 2016 he transferred to Central Station, which includes the Financial District, Chinatown, the Embarcadero and North Beach. While the rest of the country considers San Francisco a gay haven, he quickly ran afoul of the precinct’s Old Boy Network. “Anyone who did not fit a precise mold — broadly speaking, straight, cisgender, white and male — was targeted for mistreatment,” his lawyer claimed. “Those who complained about it were treated even worse.”

Most of the complains are directed at two unnamed sergeants at Central Station: One suggested Mannix was in a sexual relationship with the other gay officer at the station, and would 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?”

And if Mannix did or said something the sergeant believed was stereotypically gay, he would say “ugh, you gays!” or “God, you gays!” Once, after they discovered a dead body in the water, the sergeant told Mannix , “don’t be such a queen,” when he said he was cold. In another instance, the sergeant waxed nostalgic about how, “back in the day,” the police would “round up’ all of the ‘trannies’ ” who were prostitutes.

When Mannix confronted his harassers in a station conference room, the other sargeant got in his face and told him, “if you think I am a bully, file a f*cking complaint.”

That’s when the retaliation began: In April 2017, Mannix radioed for backup while chasing a robbery suspect. No one from his station immediately responded and Mannix apprehended the suspect himself. (Officers from a neighboring station eventually arrived on the scene to assist.)

Eventually the stress of the situation prompted Mannix to take a three-month leave in May 2017 to “maintain his mental health.” When he returned last August, he filed a formal complaint with the department but says the officer who took down the report omitted many of the incidents he recounted.

Mannix was later summoned into a meeting with his lieutenant to discuss the complaints. He was told “he had inappropriately addressed her and violated policy by discussing an active Internal Affairs investigation.”

The complaint was eventually closed without any action taken.

Do you think this San Francisco cop’s experience is typical or an outlier?