Mall protester models birthday suit

By Kelly Canright

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A nude man protested the state law on public indecency on the Mall Monday.

Tucson resident Bruce Friedmann, 38, disrobed at high noon exposing his entire body in the free speech area of the University of Arizona Mall.

Friedmann held a sign stating, "Public nudity is not unlawful unless you act lewd," citing the court case State of Arizona v. Gates.

Another sign read, "Jesus said, 'When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then you will see the Son of the Living One." Friedmann said he was quoting the Gospel of Thomas, a "book written a long time ago not canonized by the church."

UA Police officers arrived and spoke to Friedmann, asking him to leave campus. Friedmann refused and said he was demonstrating the law.

"These guys (the police officers) are telling me to cover myself," he said. "This is a free speech place. I am not acting disorderly.

"They are conspiring to remove me, but they do not have any lawful reason to."

UA Deputy Police Chief Harry Hueston said Friedmann would not be forcibly removed from campus.

"The nature of his demonstration is in a free speech arena," Hueston said. "He is contesting the state law of public indecency. If I have a series of complaints regarding his display, then I'll have to deal with that accordingly."

Friedmann distributed political pamphlets that addressed issues of money and religion. One of the pamphlets states, "I ask anyone who believes that money is the root of all evil, how can an object that is inanimate create anything good, bad or otherwise?"

Friedmann said, "I believe I am a messiah. I hope for the second coming of Christ. This world is pretty messed up."

Frank O'Neill, a 21-year-old Tucson resident was not convinced.

"It's ridiculous," he said. "Quite sad. A little over the top."

Yesterday was not Friedmann's first controversial visit to the university.

On April 8, 1986, the UAPD was informed that there was a disturbance in front of the Main Library. Friedmann was yelling "President Reagan is Satan" and was handing out flyers, said Sgt. Brian Seastone, UAPD spokesman. Friedmann displayed a belligerent attitude and advised the officers of his First Amendment right to free speech, Seastone said.

Two UA students filed formal complaints against Friedmann after the 1986 incident which forcibly removed him from campus, Seastone said. Friedmann was charged with interference with the peaceful conduct of an educational institution, said a clerk at the Pima County Justice Department.

Yesterday, UA students generally were unoffended by Friedmann's nudity.

Creative writing senior Erik King said, "I think it's fine. People should get over their hang-ups."

Tad Woods, a political science senior, said, "I think it is kind of a non-issue. If there is a time and place to protest, I guess this is the appropriate form."

Friedmann left before 1 p.m. saying, "I'll be back next Monday. I hope more people join me."

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