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After weeks of protesting, volunteering, and donating after the murder of George Floyd, Elsie Olin and Kristian Calbert wanted to take a moment to relax. Like other beach-goers, Olin and Calbert spent part of their time sunbathing topless, but later put their tops back on. Soon after, cops from both Golden Valley and Minneapolis Parks arrived.
They went straight to Olin and Calbert, requested their IDs, and told them to expect to receive citations for public nudity. Clothed and confused, they asked why. Further away on the beach, Paula Chesley received a citation as well. Out of sight from the other patrons, she read a book next to a friend.
She had the top of her swimsuit pulled down, and was laying on her stomach, making it difficult to see that she was topless when she was approached by the cops. Calbert posted a video of the encounter on Instagram which garnered lots of support, and ignited even more anger at the police departments, especially after multiple beach-goers accused the police of targeting Black people. Golden Valley Mayor Shepard Harris denied in a Facebook post that there was targeting, and linked a statement from the city explaining what happened that day.
He also said that none of the women who were questioned by police would receive citations. However, days later, all of the women received tickets in the mail. The citations were revoked the next day, but none of the women were officially informed by the city. And, despite the near immediate revocation, the citation will still show up on background checks until their record is expunged, a process that can take up to 6 months.
Until then, this could cause the women issues if they want to apply for new housing or employment.
But, that could change August The timing of the July 10 incident proved to be serendipitous. The Minneapolis Parks Board already had the public nudity ordinance on the docket to vote on this summer. The vote would change the portion regarding the female breast, and decriminalize women being topless in Minneapolis parks, making it legal for women to be topless outside anywhere in Minneapolis.
Howard was cited in for being topless on a beach with her partner. After Jill Bisbois became her lawyer, the citation was quickly dropped. Howard has received almost daily messages of support since City s reported on her topless bike rides earlier this summer. Some of the women even received offers from strangers to pay for their tickets. Despite the trouble and harassment they went through from the events at Twin Lake beach, Olin and Chesley say that they would go topless again. If the ordinance changes after August 19, Chesley has high hopes for the city.
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