Claremont Insider: Our Prurient Town

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our Prurient Town

Don't know how we missed it, but the Pomona College paper The Student Life reported on the Claremont PD stopping about a dozen bicyclists from the Claremont Colleges who were riding naked through the Claremont Village on the evening of February 26.

TSL tells us the students were part of a group of 40 such riders whom Claremont police said were in violation of indecent exposure laws. Three of the bikers were detained and handcuffed, including Pomona College student Erica Reiss, whom a CPD officer physically removed from her bicycle.

The TSL article explained how it all went down:

Participants in the bike ride said 12 students were stopped when a police vehicle tried to block the group’s path on First Street. The rest of the students continued cycling. When a second vehicle tried to cut them off, police Corporal David DeMetz grabbed Reiss, who was not injured in the incident.

Two other students, Eric Stahl-David PI ’11 and Matt Goldbach PI ’11, stopped when they saw DeMetz take Reiss to the ground. All three students were handcuffed and told to sit on the curb. According to police, the students were released when witnesses opted not to press charges against them.

The matter came up at the City Council meeting last night during public comment. Resident and retired LAPD officer Ralph Ruiz brought up the issue. Ruiz called the incident in, and he was unhappy that no one was arrested.

As Tony Krickl over at the Claremont Courier says on his blog, Claremont Police Chief Paul Cooper was present at the council meeting, and he explained his department's stance on the bikers:
Cooper said police will not take action against a nude biker as long as witnesses are not offended by the nudity or the biker is not getting sexual pleasure from his/her activity.

"This is a specific intent crime," Cooper said. "The persons exposing their genitals have to received some type of sexual gratification from this. There's no evidence to support that [in this case]."


You can watch the council video here (just click on the public comment agenda item). You have to wade through some non-nude biking talk, including a little medical marijuana info and a few comments by Citizen Michael John Keenan before you get to Chief Cooper's and the council's comments.