Will Walters, a gay man who unsuccessfully sued the San Diego police over a public nudity arrest, was found dead of an apparent suicide Wednesday night at his home in Hillcrest.
The death of Will X. Walters comes about two weeks after a federal jury delivered the verdict in favor of police.
Walters’ attorney, Chris Morris, said Walters was shocked by the Dec. 13 verdict and immediately left the downtown San Diego federal courthouse after it was announced.
Morris said he hadn’t heard from Walters since and had tried to reach him in the days that followed. Friends also tried checking on him, the lawyer said.
Will Walters was arrested by the San Diego police in 2011 for wearing a revealing leather kilt at the city’s pride festival. But his lawsuit argued that the arrest was motivated by anti-LGBT discrimination. In a statement published by The Advocate last July, Walters’s lead attorney said:
During his appeal to the Ninth Circuit, Walters’s legal team presented the justices with overwhelming evidence of a double standard held for public nudity: one adopted for LGBT people at Pride, and one adopted for everyone else. The panel of judges was shown photos of the officers who arrested Walters happily standing next to women in G-strings at the beach. The panel was presented with deposition testimony from the officer in charge admitting that he adopted the enforcement posture for Pride and that various other scantily clad Pride attendees were also detained for “offending” outfits. The Ninth Circuit panel was also presented with a total absence of any other enforcement of this standard at any other event or venue.
After his arrest, Walters became a crusader for LGBT equality and sexual freedom. He founded Free Will USA, an organization devoted to educating the public about their constitutional rights. Nicole Murray-Ramirez, a San Diego LGBT leader and city Human Relations commissioner told the San Diego Union-Tribune, “He was a young activist and many of us thought he had a bright future in our community, and it’s a loss to our community.”
(Featured photo via Facebook)