San Francisco Cop Gared Hansen Sues Over Suspensions For Nude Photo Hobby

Gared Hansen San Francisco cop fired nude photos

When it comes to erotic images online, Gared Hansen's photographs of nude women portraying mermaids, vampires, nymphs and other mythical creatures might seem tame. But his hobby isn't one that his bosses at the San Francisco Police Department approve of, resulting in Hansen being suspended twice in the past three years.

The 36-year-old officer, pictured above, doesn't believe that the suspensions were warranted and has filed suit in federal court in Oakland against the department for what he says are violations of his right to free speech.

In court documents filed earlier this month, Hansen says the suspensions, which stemmed from incidents in 2009 and 2010, were dished out because the department, "did not approve of plaintiff's artistic expression," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Hansen also alleges that he was assigned to jobs "widely known throughout the department as 'punishment' assignments."

Hansen's images, which can be viewed at, depict partially and fully nude women posed in several fantasy themes. According to the lawsuit, Hansen has been a photographer for 20 years and describes his work as "creative photography" and "figure study."

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A seven-year veteran of the force, Hansen served a 10-day suspension in January following an investigation into a March 2010 photo shoot that took place in an abandoned hotel in neighboring Contra Costa County.

It was there that Hansen and two of his models were approached by five Sheriff's Department officers for trespassing on private property, Slate reports. When asked why he was there, Hansen told the officers that he was a San Francisco Police officer and that he was taking photos.

The deputies asked if the photos were posted online, and Hansen said yes. The admission was evidence enough for Hansen's bosses to claim that he was "establishing a nexus between [his] employment as a San Francisco Police officer and [his] personal website."

Though Hansen's website, which has since been taken down, made no mention of his work with the department, his superiors concluded that his conduct "reflects discredit on the department," according to the complaint.

According to his lawsuit, Hansen says that he also was suspended for five days in 2009 after an internal investigation that was sparked by his artwork.

Hansen's case may be unique, but employment experts are keenly eyeing the outcome as it may have implications for public employees nationwide who suddenly find themselves being disciplined for pastimes that their employers find objectionable.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages, reports local station KGO-TV, and lists San Francisco, its Police Chief Greg Suhr, and his predecessor, George Gascon, as defendants.

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Don't most officers have Playboy or SI Swimsuit issue pinups in their lockers? What is the entire police force gay?

September 04 2012 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He should receive discipline for trespassing however nude photos are not porn and they are certainly not nude photos of himself therefore it would not violate any morality clause the department may have.

August 30 2012 at 3:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

C.G. Jung posited a zenith and a nadir in cultures.Comments regard the tip rather than the bottom of the iceberg.
Our soiety equats nudity with sex, a symptom of the aspect of Judao-Christian civilization that identifies pleasure with sin. America is basically a European culture with an attitude toward sex that is still Puritanical--a Puritan is a person who is siezed with the horrors that somewhere, someone in the world MAY be happy. A polieman is a mamber of a civic force reponsible to keep public order. It implies that the actions of this particular pliceman has been disorderly.

August 29 2012 at 10:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

there is a strong artistic sense to his work, but his talent is severely lacking in both photography and body painting. His pictures are out of focus and his body paint has no depth to it. That being said, the guy ID's himself as a cop to get out of a trespassing charge- if he hadn't done that, his suit would have merit; he's using the color of authority to allow for criminal activity, the subject material of his art doesn't need to have anything to do with it.

August 29 2012 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rowlurorowf's comment

There is an assumption here that the property was legally posted, I would think, unless that law in that state is different from the ones I where I have lived..

August 30 2012 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is 2012 and the right rules, Nudity is bad and people lose their jobs or get suspended for taking lawful pictures. He is going to win this case

August 29 2012 at 8:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I remember from about three decades ago when the wives of the police chiefs, mayors, and other high officials volunteering to review X rated movies as part of the decency leagues. It seems we are having the stalwarts themselves trying to do the job. As for the "evils", it is in the eye and mind of the beholder anyway. Shame on the employers' perversities in their minds.

I find the actions taken by the employers to be horrific at best in that they deem their workers as their owned property (chattel, anyone?), even ignoring that these people are also their customers in many cases. We need to get the employers back to toeing the line that their requirements are only for the hours that are contracted and not for hours that belong to the individuals.

Bare skin is not pornographic.

August 29 2012 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Check out the photo site & decide for yourself. I see nothing obscene, unless you view a trip to any art gallery as obscene. The photos arent lewd or vulgar at all.
SF is one a handful of cities that doesnt have a history of puritanism .The community standards are wonderfully liberal & relatively enlightened. Why shouldnt a PO or any other citizen enjoy the same freedom of expression that any other citizen in that community has?
The real issue is the officer's choice to take photos in public areas or on private property . & also, posting the material online . He probably mentioned being a PO in the hope of getting some deferential treatment as a "professional courtesy" for being somewhere that, perhaps, he didnt have permission to be.
Just keep the hobby private & I see no problem. I cant imagine too many heterosexual males who wouldnt be thrilled to have beautivul women who are volunteering to be photographed or sketched in the nude.

August 29 2012 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ruth Ann

Just checked out the site. They're really beautiful. This guy needs to win his suit imo.

August 29 2012 at 3:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Totally ridiculous! They really need to find another reason to fire him. That's what it seems to me is that they just want him out so they are using this as the ammo. As far as I can tell this is his hobby. One thing I would say he needs tho is a new website designer!

August 29 2012 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I haven't seen the pictures, no interest. However, I think the San Francisco, of all places, Police Department is WAY over the line on this one. Visit any art gallery if you want to see nude paintings, sculptures, etc. Are they going to shut them down next?

August 29 2012 at 7:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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