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Suit claims police raids at Cheetahs caused loss of business

Naked justice

Strip club alleges police presence inhibits dancers, intimidates patrons, ruins business.
Strip club alleges police presence inhibits dancers, intimidates patrons, ruins business.

A federal court battle over whether San Diego police illegally disrupted the lives and finances of local strippers during vice squad raids on the Cheetahs nightclub is destined to continue, a judge has held.

Place

Cheetahs Gentlemen's Club

8105 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego

“Plaintiff Red Eye Jacks Sports Bar Inc., d.b.a. Cheetah’s Nightclub, operates a ‘nude entertainment business,’ as defined by San Diego Municipal Code,” wrote Judge M. James Lorenz in his July 7 denial of city attorney Jan Goldsmith’s motion to dismiss the case. “On July 14, 2013 and March 6, 2014, the vice unit of San Diego Police Department conducted inspections of Cheetah’s that lasted four and two and a half hours, respectively.” The club has “alleged that the inspections violated its constitutional rights guaranteed by the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments,” and “that as a result of the inspections they have suffered a loss of business.”

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According to Red Eye Jack’s complaint, “As a result of the actions of the police department many entertainers have not returned to perform at Cheetah’s because of the emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness and fear.” Added the document, “By conducting raids with more than ten officers posted throughout the business, armed and wearing bullet-proof vests, Defendant has created a chilling effect on Plaintiff’s right to free speech by causing customers to cease patronizing the business and entertainers to stop working at the business.”

Goldsmith countered that the raids did not affect the rights of those lined up and inspected by the cops, and that in any case the statute of limitations on constitutional rights violations against the performers has run out. He also argued that police chief Shelly Zimmerman wasn’t in office at the time of the operations, a premise called “irrelevant” by the judge, “because the suit against Zimmerman represents claims against the Chief Police of San Diego as an entity, not Defendant Zimmerman as an individual.”

In addition, Lorenz noted, the Cheetahs owners “allege that during the inspections at issue, San Diego Police officers entered into the private women’s dressing rooms and into the private office of the manager.” The next step in the case is an “early neutral evaluation conference” between the city and and the club owner before Magistrate Ruben Brooks on September 9.

A California state judge was not as kind to the strip club, ruling July 10 that Cheetahs should lose its business license because it broke the city’s six-foot “no touch’ rule, banning lap dancing and other forms of illegal fondling.

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Strip club alleges police presence inhibits dancers, intimidates patrons, ruins business.
Strip club alleges police presence inhibits dancers, intimidates patrons, ruins business.

A federal court battle over whether San Diego police illegally disrupted the lives and finances of local strippers during vice squad raids on the Cheetahs nightclub is destined to continue, a judge has held.

Place

Cheetahs Gentlemen's Club

8105 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego

“Plaintiff Red Eye Jacks Sports Bar Inc., d.b.a. Cheetah’s Nightclub, operates a ‘nude entertainment business,’ as defined by San Diego Municipal Code,” wrote Judge M. James Lorenz in his July 7 denial of city attorney Jan Goldsmith’s motion to dismiss the case. “On July 14, 2013 and March 6, 2014, the vice unit of San Diego Police Department conducted inspections of Cheetah’s that lasted four and two and a half hours, respectively.” The club has “alleged that the inspections violated its constitutional rights guaranteed by the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments,” and “that as a result of the inspections they have suffered a loss of business.”

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According to Red Eye Jack’s complaint, “As a result of the actions of the police department many entertainers have not returned to perform at Cheetah’s because of the emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness and fear.” Added the document, “By conducting raids with more than ten officers posted throughout the business, armed and wearing bullet-proof vests, Defendant has created a chilling effect on Plaintiff’s right to free speech by causing customers to cease patronizing the business and entertainers to stop working at the business.”

Goldsmith countered that the raids did not affect the rights of those lined up and inspected by the cops, and that in any case the statute of limitations on constitutional rights violations against the performers has run out. He also argued that police chief Shelly Zimmerman wasn’t in office at the time of the operations, a premise called “irrelevant” by the judge, “because the suit against Zimmerman represents claims against the Chief Police of San Diego as an entity, not Defendant Zimmerman as an individual.”

In addition, Lorenz noted, the Cheetahs owners “allege that during the inspections at issue, San Diego Police officers entered into the private women’s dressing rooms and into the private office of the manager.” The next step in the case is an “early neutral evaluation conference” between the city and and the club owner before Magistrate Ruben Brooks on September 9.

A California state judge was not as kind to the strip club, ruling July 10 that Cheetahs should lose its business license because it broke the city’s six-foot “no touch’ rule, banning lap dancing and other forms of illegal fondling.

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Comments
9

I don't understand the mania around strip bars. So what if some people want to pay strippers? If you believe women are forced into that work, investigate that. "Oh, but there's prostitution!" So what? Two consenting adults exchanging sex for money is a long way from the top of my list of worries. "There is drug use!" So what? If someone wants to fry their brains on drugs, that's their business. "There's crime!" Of course there is! When you criminalize behavior people want to engage in, you force them to become criminals, and they now have no choice but to associate with criminals, and they cannot turn to the police to resolve issues so they have to handle it themselves. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it, and most of the problems will evaporate. But that isn't what anyone wants, certainly not the police who derive so much funding from the War On Behavior I Don't Approve Of.

Aug. 5, 2015

You have not been to the If-you-are-having-fun-you-are-sinning bible thumping church lately have you? Don't you know it is the job of government to regulate morals? Don't you know, in spite of the facts, that this is a Christian nation? Are you not engaged in one of the wars? War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Women, War on the middle class, War on other nations the do not think like we do, war on . . . an on and on

Aug. 5, 2015

"So much funding" or so much fun?

Aug. 5, 2015

There is one name behind so much of San Diego's corruption, waste, problems, lawsuits, nanny-state mentality, public disagreements, backstabbing, and buffoonery; Goldsmith.

Aug. 5, 2015

But is he better or worse than former City Attorney Casey Gwynne? Remember him?

Aug. 5, 2015

There's plenty of self-satire in this controversy. The dancers claim to suffer "emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness and fear." Yet these are women who nightly show literally "everything" to men for pay. But they fear cops. It's hard to determine why the joint suffered a loss of business, since the cops didn't shut them down, or did so for a few hours on two occasions, max. Well, the claim is that the performers stopped working, er showing, as a result of the police inspections.

jnojr may be missing the point that the city does regulate those nude joints, and that police scrutiny is a means of insuring that the rules are followed. But that doesn't mean that the cops need to be spending huge amounts of time around, near, or in the clubs. And that's what is happening. Where can I sign up to be a SD vice cop working the nude joints? I understand they get paid to do that, instead of paying to look.

Aug. 5, 2015

Let's reform this Police Department and start with Mayor Sunny's Chief Shelley Zimmerman who has been around since the beginning of Time, knows everything and everybody, covers up as much as is necessary and keeps on temporizing over those troublesome lapel-cams for the boys and girls in blue. This woman is part of the local police culture: we need one of those fancy "searches" that will bring us credible out-of-town police leadership.

Aug. 5, 2015

Sorry, but those fancy--and costly--"searches" more often disappoint. Pay some headhunter firm a few hundred thou and you get them trotting in with resumes from candidates who you could have identified yourself. But now, since the "national search" found a candidate, he or she must be worth more than someone who just applied for an open position. What has the search firm done for all the money? Usually not much, and one thing they try to do is avoid digging up much or any dirt. Hey, if you eliminate a candidate, you can't expect to be paid for that person. No, it's the size of the list of candidates. Anyhow, forget about the candidates being properly vetted.

The usual upshot is hiring, for far too high a salary and benefit package, a candidate about whom you know just about nothing. If you get very lucky you might get a credible candidate, but usually you get a player skilled in job-hopping and staying out of trouble for the typical three year period of a contract.

There's gotta be a better way than the "national search."

Aug. 5, 2015

monaghan: The larger the department the more layers of management the less the top knows what is happening at the bottom which leads to ineffective management and loss of control. Go to any local small city and the distance from the top to the street is very short.

Aug. 6, 2015

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