If this is a routine vice inspection, I tremble to see a SWAT action.
Who thought this was a good idea? Last Thursday night ten officers with the San Diego Police Department vice squad burst into a San Diego area strip club, shut down the place, and then lined up Destiny, Amber and the rest of their stripping sisterhood to take their pictures and “check their permits.”
“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.
Why? Even the Cheetah Club manager was in the dark.
“I didn’t know if it was a bank robbery or serial killer on the loose the way they had come in like that,” said manager Rich Buonantony.
The police issued this statement (via UPI),
San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer released the following statement about the incident:
“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.” [emphasis mine]
It was an INSPECTION?! From the Washington Post
So this was a regulatory operation. But 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.
WaPo even takes a swipe at local TV station 10News for protecting the cops’ identities (see the story below),
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.
I don’t like strip clubs. I think they’re gross and attract a bad element. If there’s a reason the cops thought it was fine to raid the strip club and had a warrant, fine. But there was nothing of the sort alluded to. The Lieutenant said it was “an inspection” and later said it was “for investgative purposes.” Which is it? Is there an investigation or not?
Do cops the county health department raid businesses and take pictures of law abiding waiters to make sure they have their food handlers cards? Is this behavior NORMAL?