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San Diego Police Photographed Dancers During Strip Club “Inspection”

Earlier this month, 10 armed police officers in bulletproof vests visited a strip club in California. You won’t believe the reason why.

Controlling the Herd

San Diego Police Photographed Dancers During Strip Club “Inspection”


Earlier this month, 10 armed officers in bulletproof vests raided visited a strip club in Kearny Mesa, CA.

You’ll never guess why.


Underage dancers?

Some other kind of illegal activity?

Rich Buonantony, the manager, told ABC 10 he figured something serious was going on when the officers swarmed the club:

“I didn’t know if it was a bank robbery or serial killer on the loose the way they had come in like that.”


The officers’ purpose at the club?

To make sure that the 30 women employed there as dancers had proper permits and were in compliance.

Uh huh. Sure.

ABC 10 reported how the, er, “inspection” went down:

Surveillance video shows the women lined up and officers taking down their information.

“They asked us for our licenses and then took down our Social Security and had us line up in the back of the dressing rooms and take pictures,” said stripper Katelynn Delorie.

Delorie is a hairdresser by day and a stripper at night. She has a lot of tattoos and says that made things even worse.

“They made me feel like I was a gang member pretty much and they wanted to document every single one of my tattoos,” said Delorie.

Here’s the statement San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer released to explain the visit:

“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. In most cases, Vice Unit detectives do not require or request clubs to shut down. Photographs of the entertainers permit and the person in possession of it are taken for investigative purposes.”

Buonantony told ABC 10 he wants to cooperate with police on these matters, but he wishes they’d be a bit more subtle and respectful in the future:

“It’s just the show of force, show of power was incredible. We are good citizens. We want to be a part of the community.”

He said his club hasn’t been in any trouble for the last 12 years, and that a similar raid happened once before.

Here’s the video report from ABC 10:

If this was truly a regulatory operation, why the bulletproof vests and guns? Why all the photos of the women’s tattoos?

Radley Balko of The Washington Post analyzed the “inspection” and raised some excellent questions about how the operation was conducted:

Instead of sending a few bureaucrats to do the paperwork, the city of San Diego thought it appropriate to send a team of gun-toting cops to raid the place (similar to recent masked, militarized SWAT raids on massage parlors). Remember, according to the report, there was no suspicion of criminal activity here. This was a routine inspection. Which raises the question: Are all routine, regulatory inspections of San Diego businesses done with raid teams? Is it just strip clubs? Are strippers known for being dangerous? And if the photos were necessary for record-keeping purposes, why was it necessary to photograph the women while they weren’t wearing clothing?

Balko also questioned why the news station hid the identities of the officers:

It’s also puzzling why the TV station felt obligated to protect the identities of the police officers. If this was truly just a regulatory inspection, the cops wouldn’t be undercover officers. So what’s the point? This seems to be to be a pretty questionable use of that sort of force. The TV station obviously believes there’s at least an argument to be made that it was, or they wouldn’t have aired the story. TV stations air the names and photos of people suspected of crimes all the time. Yet police officers are public servants, who are authorized to carry guns, forcibly detain, and in some cases kill. There’s a strong argument that journalists should make every effort to expose the identities of officers who use force in questionable ways, not go out of their way to obscure them.

No matter what your personal feelings are about strip clubs and their employees, doesn’t this so-called inspection seem like a waste of police resources and a violation of the dancers’ civil rights?

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Contributed by Lily Dane of The Daily Sheeple.

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to “Wake the Flock Up!”

Lily Dane is a staff writer for The Daily Sheeple. Her goal is to help people to "Wake the Flock Up!"


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