Parents Seeks $20 Million in San Diego Gay Pride Cruise Killing

Alan and Nicole Hirschfield, the parents of Steven Paul Hirschfield, the 37-year-old dancer who was shot and killed by police who were sent to rescue him after Hirschfield went overboard on a nighttime boat cruise at the San Diego Gay Pride Celebrations in July, are seeking $20 million from the San Diego Police Department and the office responsible for the death of their son.

HirschfieldThe San Diego Union Tribune reports: “Brian Claypool, the Los Angeles attorney representing the Hirschfields, is levying anti-gay accusations against Harbor Police Chief Kirk Sanfilippo, who is not commenting on the allegations. The one-page claims make no reference to homosexuality. They accuse police of killing Hirschfield without legal justification. The officer who fired his gun, Clyde Williams, and his partner, Wayne Schmidt, have been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the results of a San Diego police investigation. ‘The public, including me, is not privy to the information the San Diego Police Department relies on to reach its conclusion,’ Claypool said. ‘The only way to level the playing field is through a lawsuit. Then we can gather, through discovery, all of the physical evidence and witness statements from the San Diego police. If we don’t file a lawsuit, we’ll never be able to reconstruct the shooting.’ John Gilmore, a spokesman for the San Diego Unified Port District, which includes the Harbor Police, said the department is standing by the officers’ account of what happened that night.”

A formal lawsuit has not been filed, but the claim is a first step in that direction.

You may have missed…
Family of Dancer Shot at San Diego Pride to Sue Police [tr]
Performer Fatally Shot in San Diego Gay Boat Cruise Tragedy [tr]


  1. JerzeeMike says

    A man died here, folks. Whenever someone is killed while in police custody it’s common for the police to close ranks and freeze out any outside queries into the investigation. The lawsuit is a means the family is using to gain access to information the police alone have to find out why their son was killed when the police were suppose to be rescuing him.

    Why does everyone here rush to judge this man? Because he was a dancer on a gay cruise and therefore must have been on some drugs? Is that how self-hating we are to one of our own? Before we crucify Steven Paul, or the police for that matter, let’s see what the evidence brings to light. I think that’s the least we owe the Hirschfield’s.

  2. says

    Not that it’s any of my business, but given the scourge of drug use in our community (and America in general) I don’t think it’s necessarily overly judgemental to question drug use in this situation… but let’s hold off on making quippy statements until all the facts (and toxicology results) are in. I bet we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation had the guy in question not been a muscley dancer… the salacious quality of the photos would certainly bias the reader of any article to which they were attached.

    I really feel sorry for this guy’s parents. What a terrible thing they’re going through.

  3. halla says

    @David – “son’s activities” does not = gay.
    You have no foundation for your snarky reply, but I will give you a free bus pass on Greyhound Canada to Edmonton – enjoy! PS – don’t fall asleep!

  4. Brian says

    Don’t be so quick to rush to judgment. His parents knew he was gay and that he was a dancer. There is supposedly no sign of a struggle, and after initial police reports stating he was shot in the chest, come to find out he was shot in the back. Also, witnesses are saying it was hours before paramedics were called to the scene. If this is true, I hope they sue the fuck out of them and win.

  5. LD says

    Milkman, what’s so salacious about the photo? He could be stretching before a jog in Runyon Canyon.

    Why is everyone else being so sarcastic and cruel? We expect everyone to suspend judgment of us, and look at your reactions to this person’s sad, unnecessary death. Wow.

  6. John says

    Let’s see hear… Man goes over board a cruise ship. He struggles and fights with a police officer when the police officer tries to save him. He goes on fighting with the officer and gets hold of his stunt gun and hits the officer in the face with the stunt gun. He goes on fighting with this officer and tries to get a hold of the officers bullet loaded hand gun (there are passengers in the cruise ship) and gets shot by another police officer. The family wants to sue for $20 million dollars. What is wrong with this picture?

  7. says

    Nothing’s wrong with the picture, or with being a gogo boy. It’s just that a beefcake-esque photo coupled with such a sad story is a strange match that might cause readers to jump to conclusions based on a pre-existing “circuit boy” stereotype. That’s all.

    And LD, I agree, people can be cruel. I guess it’s easy to do that when one doesn’t know the people involved.

    Queenie, you’re right too. Gogo boys and prostitutes don’t get a heckuva lot of sympathy, either on internet comment pages or in the real world (assuming there’s a difference). I, for one, have known several of both, and they’ve been some of my favorite people.

  8. says

    “He struggles and fights with a police officer when the police officer tries to save him. He goes on fighting with the officer and gets hold of his stunt gun and hits the officer in the face with the stunt gun. He goes on fighting with this officer and tries to get a hold of the officers bullet loaded hand gun (there are passengers in the cruise ship) and gets shot by another police officer.”

    That’s what then Police said. Why do you believe them? The police kill innocent people claiming they’ve been attacked and that “he reached for my gun” all the time.
    It’s a sport for them.

    Go fuck a mountie, “Halla.”

  9. jzn says

    If this happened to my son and the only way to get any answers from the SFPD was to sue….uhh I would be suing too!

    And what the hell is a “stunt gun”, I mean I have heard of a stun gun but a stunt gun…maybe they got it from Lee Majors.

  10. Tralfaz says

    Oh goody. Here we go with the all police are lying pigs reactions.

    Yeah, I’d like to know the truth about this as well.

    But I think his family is getting fucked over by some laywer that is so quick to jump on this.

    I’m insulted that they are trying to make this some sort of gay rights issue.


  11. John in Manhattan says

    TRALFAZ, I’m insulted by your existence and your ridiculous comment. Let’s hope you’re not on the jury should this case go to trial and “some sort of gay rights issue” is introduced.

    Have a nice weekend, y’all!

  12. Tralfaz says

    Uh, blow it out your ass John.

    So you think this is a gay rights issue?

    What a load of shit.

    What pisses me off is that some lawyer seeing cameras and $$$ jumps on board and takes advantage of a family in shock over their loved ones death.

    We don’t know the TRUTH. We don’t know if Hirschfield was high or not. When the toxicology reports come back, then I think everyone needs to back off their knee jerk judgement.

    So let’s ask a few questions.

    1. Why did he jump off the boat?

    2. Did he fight those people who tried to pull him out of the water?

    3. Do you think the cop that jumped in to help him said “Oh cool, I’m gonna kill that fag”?

    And you have a nice weekend too, dear.

    You might want to have a couple of cocktails to kill that bug that is up your ass.

  13. Weezy says

    Steven Paul Hirschfield was only gay for pay.
    Also I believe it was mentioned previously that he had a history of mental illness and substance abuse. The folks on the party boat said he jumped overboard. It sounds like a very determined suicide, no matter what the cops felt about gays.

  14. Pekemo says

    there just seem to be so many things wrong with this story. I’ve never heard of rescuers carrying loaded firearms while attempting an aquatic rescue. And even if this is the case, why would you carry a loaded gun! A tranquilizer gun would be just as efficient and non-lethal way to sedate a target. And the fact that he was shot in the back is also very suspicious.

    Secondly, some of the guys here should be horribly ashamed of themselves. Whether you agree with the guys life or not, and whether you want to believe it or not, he was one of our one ( in more ways than you may think )

  15. JeffNYC says

    The parents are entitled to sue, so no one should criticize them for that. We don’t know yet which is true: he was tweaking and attacked an officer vs. he was killed for no reason. We don’t know. The parents don’t know. They’re entitled to sue UNDER UNITED STATES LAW.

    But, ugh! What’s with this meaningless gay-for-pay distinction? He had orgasms with other men? He was gay.

  16. Weezy says

    @ JEFFNYC:

    Hirschfield was a straight guy who had orgasms with other men for cash. Not because he was hot for guys, but because he was hot for cash.

    If a Lesbian were a prostitute and her clientele were men, you wouldn’t say she was straight. She’s still a Lesbian because she is attracted to women, even if she has sex with men.

    Just like those “straight” guys who get busted trolling parks for trade. They might have a wife and kids, but they aren’t really “straight” are they?

Leave A Reply