As the legendary Ron Burgundy once said, “Go f**k yourself, San Diego.”
Well, not the whole city of San Diego. Maybe just the city police force, who reportedly violated the rights of entertainers in two strip club raids in 2013 and 2014. Those raids ended up costing the city $1.5 million in settlements with 17 entertainers, who won that whopping sum of money from the city after a judge ruled law enforcement officers violated their rights during a raid on two clubs, Expose and Cheetah’s Gentlemen’s Club.
The dancers sought damages from what they allege was a humiliating search and unlawful detainment. City Council leaders approved two settlements last week over the raids, where one stripper will receive $110,000 and the others a combined $1.4 million, according to records.
Cheetah’s dancers allege that in 2014, militarized police officers swarmed the building wearing bulletproof vests and had drawn weapons, ordering dancers into the dressing rooms where a search was conducted to ensure each stripper possessed proper city permits to work. It was also alleged that the officers forced dancers to expose body parts and have tattoos photographed, which club surveillance video showed to be the case.
“I felt like it was really, really, like, uncomfortable,” dancer Brittany Murphy told 10News in 2014. “I don’t understand why I have to get my picture taken. I asked them if it was of my face and they said yes. So, I got up against the locker and [the officer] is standing really far. She’s taking a photo of my entire body.”
Police proceeded to question dancers about personal information, but the San Diego police contend that the raid was official police business for investigative purposes, and that random inspections are permitted.
According to many media outlets, the raids set off a national debate regarding constitutional rights and left some in the adult club industry wondering if a similar type of raid in New Orleans this past February, under the ruse of combatting human trafficking (police in NOLA produced zero victims and later seemed to back pedal on that topic), might be subject to the same Constitutional violations.
Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled a violation of the dancers’ First Amendment rights occurred, which violated San Diego’s municipal code allowing inspections of police-regulated businesses.
- some of this information was taken from a recent ACE National newsletter, written by ACE Executive Director Angelina Spencer, as well as an article on 10news.com.