Brendan Mannix, a 28-year-old openly gay police officer in San Francisco, is suing the city over alleged discrimination and harassment based on his sexuality.
The lawsuit, available on the County of San Francisco’s case query, was filed on August 16 and details the allegations of “severe and pervasive harassment.” The suit focuses primarily on the actions of Sergeants Patrick Tobin and Lawrence McDevitt.
Mannix graduated at the top of his class from the San Francisco Police Academy in 2015, and in 2016 was transferred to Central Station. There he quickly noticed an “Old Boys’ Club” atmosphere where anyone not fitting a “straight, cisgender, white, and male” mold was targeted, the suit says.
The sergeants allegedly made frequent verbal comments about Mannix’s sexual orientation and masculinity, including calling him a “queen.” The two also mocked Mannix’s physical appearance with comments like, “How much do you weigh? One hundred pounds soaking wet?” the suit says.
The alleged discrimination included different treatment at work, as the suit claims that unlike other officers, Mannix was frequently given tasks that would require hours to complete just before the end of his shift.
Mannix allegedly attempted to confront the sergeants and asked them to stop the harassment. “In response,” the suit says, “Sergeants Tobin and McDevitt turned to each other, smiled, and then broke into laughter as they mocked Mr. Mannix and mimicked his statements.”
The alleged hostility progressed to a point that endangered Mannix’s safety. He noticed his radio calls going unanswered, including an urgent call for back-up when apprehending a potentially-armed suspect of a robbery, the suit says.
When Mannix confronted Sergeant Tobin seated at his desk for the lack of back-up, Tobin responded with, “Jesus, don’t be such a queen!” according to the suit.
In another alleged incident, Sergeant Tobin made open derogatory comments about transgender people, saying how in the past, “The police would ‘round up’ all of the ‘trannies.’”
The suit claims Mannix’s health suffered as a result of the hostile environment, with emotional distress and psychological harm resulting in insomnia, anxiety, and depression, among others. Mannix took a three-month leave beginning May 1, 2017 to “maintain his mental health” and “recuperate and explore alternative career options,” the suit says.
When he returned from leave Mannix filed an official complaint. The sergeant documenting the case, however, was “dismissive,” and ended up omitting many of Mannix’s allegations, according to the lawsuit. The complaint was found against Mannix and closed.
The Police Department said it could not comment on the pending lawsuit, but spokesman David Sevenson told the San Francisco Chronicle it takes “allegations of discrimination and officer misconduct seriously and will thoroughly investigate all complaints.”
A spokesman for the city attorney’s office told the San Francisco Chronicle, “The city of San Francisco, including the Police Department, has been a leader on LGBT rights for decades and remains committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment for all.”
Mannix is still employed as a San Francisco police officer.