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San Diego man taking his loincloth to federal court

NBC San Diego

Will Walters says he was wrongly arrested during the San Diego LGBT Pride festival in July.

The man who was arrested during last summer's Pride festival in Balboa Park for public nudity is taking his case to federal court.

Will Walters, 30, says he was just expressing his fashion-sense during the San Diego LGBT Pride festival in July. A San Diego police officer made the arrest.

He insists that his leather outfit, featuring a loincloth getup over thong underwear, completely covered his genitals. He also claims he was mistreated in jail.

The case was never prosecuted, and the city rejected Walters' claim last month, according to Walters' attorney Chris Morris. Now, Walters will sue the federal court, saying the arrest "violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment," according to Courthouse News Service.

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The suit has been filed in the Southern District Federal Court in San Diego.

A local man filed a complaint against the city after a police officer arrested him at a Pride parade for public nudity. A police officer who encountered Walters at the beer garden apparently thought the display bordered on illegality.

"He said I needed to sign this citation or I was going to jail," Walters recalled in a Dec. 2011 interview with NBC San Diego.

"I said, 'Well, you're going to have to take me to jail, because I'm never going to sign something I'm not allowed to read,’” he said. “All I wanted to know was, how can I correct a problem, and what's the problem? And the problem was presented to me, and I said, 'that’s ridiculous.'"

Vote (on Facebook): Does wearing a loincloth constitute public nudity?

Walters wound up spending 12 hours behind bars after being removed from the Pride event by several officers, and taken to the Central Jail -- where, he says, even the booking deputy was amazed that he'd been cited for nudity.

Morris saw the arrest as selective enforcement of a kind that's never been applied to beachwear seen at other events where crowds flash a lot of skin, he said in December.

"Our main goal in filing the claim was to bring change to the city and its policies," Morris said on Tuesday. "That change is just not going to happen without court supervision."

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