California Strippers Awarded $1.5 Million Settlement over Police Raids
Wearing bulletproof vests and wielding guns, San Diego police raided two strip clubs, ordering the women to line up in the dressing room where they proceeded to photograph their tattoos and city-issued permits.
The cops also “made arrogant and demeaning comments to the entertainers and ordered them to expose body parts so that they could ostensibly photograph their tattoos,” according to a lawsuit filed by the dancers.
On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council approved a $1.5 million settlement that will be divided among 17 women.
One woman will receive $110,000 and $1.4 million will be split among the other 16 women.
According to ABC10News:
> ""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.""
Lieutenant Mayer stated that the photographs of the dancers were taken for investigative purposes. The excuse they used was that they needed a way to identify the women since they are constantly changing their looks.
In March, a federal judge ruled that the dancers' First Amendment rights were indeed violated but did not make a ruling on the claims of Fourth Amendment violations.
San Diego Police Lieutenant Kevin Mayer stated the following back in 2014 when the second raid happened:
> "One of the many responsibilities of the San Diego Police Department’s Vice Unit is to conduct random inspections of strip clubs to ensure dancers are complying with the law and that they have an entertainers permit."
Lawyers for the department attempted to stop the lawsuit claiming the municipal code gave them permission, but U.S. District Judge James Lorenz denied their request stating the the municipal code is unconstitutional.
“The Inspection Provision does not prevent the Chief of Police from using inspections as a means of harassing and discouraging adult entertainment businesses, and therefore violated the First Amendment on its face,” stated Judge Lorenz in his order that was filed in March.