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Strippers Say They Were Mistreated by San Diego Police, File Lawsuit

The complaint stems from a license compliance inspection conducted last month where the strippers were allegedly held against their will and photographing them.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A second group of strippers who contend that they were mistreated by San Diego police officers during an inspection of their club filed a claim against the city Friday.

The new case involves dancers at Expose, A True Gentlemen's Club, where police went for a license compliance inspection on March 6. On the same evening, officers performed an inspection at Cheetahs, whose dancers filed a claim last week.

In both cases, lawyer Dan Gilleon alleges that SDPD officers detained the women against their will for about one hour, without a warrant or probable cause that a crime had been committed.

Also read: Strippers Allege SDPD Officers Made 'Demeaning Comments' While Photographing Tattoos During Unfounded Detention

The police "had no legitimate safety concerns, nor were the manner of the detentions commensurate with any articulable threat," Gilleon alleged in the claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit.

Officers made "arrogant and demeaning comments" as they took photos of the dancers, posing them so they could "expose body parts" to record their tattoos, according to the claim.

The clubs -- Expose is on Kearny Mesa Road and Cheetahs is on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard -- and dancers are subject to occasional police inspections as a condition of a city-issued license.

SDPD spokesman Lt. Kevin Mayer told reporters that cataloguing tattoos is an important tool for identifying adult entertainers, who can change their appearance with a wig, makeup or colored contact lenses.

Cheetahs' manager Rich Buonantony said in interviews last week that he opened the door to the police on the evening of the inspection, and three officers wearing bullet proof vests and with firearms at their hips ran inside.

They then ordered the women into a back locker room and took the photographs, while the women were dressed in bras and panties and high heels, or were nude, Buonantony said.

The women are required to have an adult entertainment license.

Police inspected the two clubs amid an uproar over recent allegations of misconduct against San Diego police officers, often sexual in nature. In one case, a former officer was convicted of soliciting sexual favors from female drunken driving suspects.

—City News Service

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