SAN FRANCISCO -- A friend of a former Oakland Raiders player is suing the city of San Francisco for at least $100,000 claiming police kicked him out of a 49ers game at Candlestick Park two years ago for wearing Hells Angels gear.

Vallejo resident Steven Gatto, 56, charges in a civil rights lawsuit filed this week that San Francisco police officers didn't like the look of his Hells Angels denim motorcycle jacket and told him to take it off or leave during the Niners' 27-20 victory over the New York Giants on Nov. 13, 2011.

After departing to the parking lot to listen to the game on his car radio, Gatto, who stands more than 6 feet tall, went back inside the stadium near the end of the game. This time he was wearing a T-shirt with the motorcycle club's insignia on the back, and again the cops told him to beat it, the suit contends.

Hell’s Angels club member. (Photo by Patrick Tehan/Mercury News File)
Hell's Angels club member. (Photo by Patrick Tehan/Mercury News File)

"He or anybody else in his position has his right to wear his colors, and that's why we're trying to get this stopped," said Joseph Wiseman, the Davis-based attorney representing Gatto. "It's not about the money. He just wants to have his civil rights protected and the rights of other people protected."

The suit was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Northern California and names the city of San Francisco and its police department as defendants. It seeks an injunction preventing San Francisco cops from kicking Hells Angels members out of events simply for wearing their club colors -- and $100,000 in damages, plus whatever punitive damages a jury deems appropriate.

Candlestick Park will close down in either December or January, long before Gatto could possibly win the case, and the suit makes no mention of allowing certain clothing at the team's new Levi's Stadium that opens next year in Santa Clara.

The San Francisco City Attorney's Office said in a statement: "We've only begun the process of reviewing the complaint, and it would be premature for us to comment on it." The lawsuit doesn't include the 49ers as defendants and the team declined to comment.

Gatto's attorney said the Hells Angels member is a friend of former Raiders defensive end Dave Tollefson, who played in the 2011 NFC showdown for the New York Giants. Tollefson had arranged for Gatto to get a wristband that got him VIP access to the players' section of the sidelines. The suit says Gatto briefly met up with Tollefson after the game when Gatto returned to the stadium before he was kicked out a second time.

Tollefson, a Walnut Creek native, played for the Raiders during the 2012 season and is now a free agent.

Although some people may associate the Hells Angels with violence, Wiseman says Candlestick's "code of conduct" that prevents fans from wearing "offensive clothing" should not be applied to what he says is merely a motorcycle club.

Wiseman's legal argument -- that Hells Angels have a First Amendment right to wear what they want -- has been used before, when Gatto said he was kicked out of the Sonoma County Fair for wearing his Hells Angels attire more than a decade ago. Legal media reported that Gatto and Wiseman won the federal case in 2002 and were awarded $1,000 in damages plus $23,700 in attorney fees.

Contact Mike Rosenberg at mrosenberg@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5705. Follow him at twitter.com/RosenbergMerc.