Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Judge supports charge of lax security in SF Pride shooting lawsuit

The judge handling a lawsuit that involves a shooting at San Francisco’s 2013 LGBT Pride celebration has expressed support for the victim’s claim that lax security was to blame for the incident. The case is set for trial next month.

Shooting victim Trevor Gardner

Shooting victim Trevor Gardner

In his lawsuit filed in 2014, Trevor Gardner, 25, of Los Angeles, claimed the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee neglected to provide adequate security at the 2013 event.

The committee responded through court documents that Gardner had failed “to use diligent care,” and in July, the nonprofit filed a motion for summary judgment asking for the case to be decided without going to trial.

But in an order signed Wednesday, October 14, Superior Court Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith firmly denied the Pride committee’s request, and suggested the group should require metal detectors and check people’s bags, among other measures.

“Even though defendant’s event included annual gun violence, defendant failed to sufficiently address a known and specific risk of injury of gun violence,” Goldsmith wrote. “It is not ‘pure speculation’ that defendant’s total failure to (1) establish a reasonable perimeter for their event; (2) establish secured entrances; (3) require metal detectors; (4) require bag and attendee checks; (5) provide enough security guards to meet industry standards; and (6) monitor overcrowding as recommended by the San Francisco Police Department in light of annual gun violence was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s gunshot wound.”

The judge continued that Gardner had provided “credible expert witness evidence that such security measures would lessen the specific probability of alcohol- and weapon-related violence occurring” at Pride.

“The causal link between defendant’s security failures and plaintiff’s injury is robust,” Goldsmith wrote.

Attorneys in the case weren’t immediately available today (Thursday, October 22).

No arrests have been reported in Gardner’s shooting.

At the time of the incident, gun violence had not been occurring annually at the festival, but a couple of shootings around Pride weekend had drawn attention in recent years.

In 2010, Stephen Powell, 19, was fatally shot at Pink Saturday, the annual pre-Pride festival in the Castro district that was organized by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Pride committee wasn’t responsible for the event, which the Sisters stopped producing this year, citing concerns about violence. (The city stepped in to replace Pink Saturday with Pink Party.) No one has been prosecuted in Powell’s killing.

In 2011, several people were injured in a shooting on Market Street near the Pride celebration, but police have said that incident didn’t appear to be related to Pride.

Eric Ryan, who was also hit in the 2013 shooting in which Gardner was a victim, filed his own lawsuit against the Pride committee this summer.

A man who had just attended this year’s Pride celebration was shot near where the party had taken place, but police have said the incident wasn’t directly connected to Pride. The victim, 64, was briefly hospitalized.

Joshua Spencer, 19, who allegedly shot the man after Spencer and several other men got into an argument, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges in the case. He remains in custody on $2.5 million bail.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 22, 2015 @ 3:26 pm PST
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