SAN DIEGO — The San Diego City Council today gave the green light for $1.5 million in payouts to 17 dancers who claimed their constitutional rights were violated during raids at two strip clubs.
City Council OK’d two settlements in two suits stemming from the raids at Cheetahs Gentleman’s Club and Exposé, both in the suburban Kearny Mesa. The first settlement awarded $110,000 to one dancer. The second settlement awarded about $1.4 million to 16 dancers.
The 17 dancers said they were held against their will and subjected to demeaning searches by 10 San Diego Police Department officers on July 15, 2013, and March 6, 2014.
Officers showed up in bulletproof vests and ordered the dancers into a dressing room, according to court documents. Officers then checked the dancers’ city-issued adult entertainer permits and asked about and photographed their tattoos and piercings. The dancers said the process lasted more than an hour.
City attorneys representing the San Diego Police Department asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing the search and seizure was reasonable. They said the city’s sexually oriented business ordinance allows police to inspect adult entertainment businesses.
But U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz disagreed and allowed the lawsuit to go forward, paving the way for settlement talks.