Strippers accuse cops of misconduct during raid

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SAN DIEGO – Nude dancers at a Kearny Mesa strip club have filed a claim against the city of San Diego over the conduct of police officers during a recent raid at the club.

Brittany Murphy is one of 25 dancers at Cheetah’s “All Nude” strip club at 8105 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard who have filed the claim. Police held her and other dancers against their will for about three hours and photographed their tattoos during a raid to check permits on March 6, she said.

Officers made “arrogant and demeaning comments” as they took the photos, and posed them so they could “expose body parts,” according to the claim.

“They were taking pictures of me half naked through my sheer top. They can clearly see everything because the flash is going,” Murphy said. “I felt very violated and my rights were taken away. They took pictures of us – not our faces – our whole bodies.”

The club is not involved with the dancers’ claim against the San Diego Police Department. It alleges that officers from the vice division acted inappropriately during the work permit check.

Adult entertainment venues are highly regulated. Under the law, the police are mandated to perform unannounced inspections and work permit checks at regulated establishments like Cheetah’s. If the club or any employee refuses or doesn’t have their work permit, the club’s license can be revoked on the spot.

Cheetah’s manager, Rich Buonantony, has managed the club for years and welcomes routine checks, but the way the women were treated this time was unacceptable, he said.

“As I opened the door, three officers with bulletproof vests with guns at their hips come running past me to stop the women. They are in bras, panties, high heels or nude,”  Buonantony said.

About 10 vice officers herded the women into a back dressing room.

“We have great respect for the police department, but this is not a great position for us to be in right now,” Buonantony said. “I have every walk of life here, and they are being treated like second-class citizens.”

A work permits costs a dancers $400 a year, and it includes finger printing and social security verification.

Police officials told Fox5 they are aware of the dancers’ claims. But they are standing behind the officers’ conduct during the inspection on March 6.

SDPD spokesman Lt. Kevin Mayer told U-T San Diego that cataloging tattoos is an important tool for identifying adult entertainers, who can change their appearance with a wig, makeup or colored contact lenses.


  • Esco

    It seems everything's in order except the flash photography part.
    The story reads "Under the law, the police are mandated to perform unannounced inspections and work permit checks on regulated establishments".. Does "unannounced inspections" include taking these pictures? What's the criteria there?

    • Beer Ban

      Beer ban starts in 60 days in San Diego. Beer causes Cancer and under Proposition 65 all Beer, Wine and Liquor must have a CANCER WARNING label, and none do. So law suits are being filed against all Alcohol vendors in San Diego to shut down all alcohol sales under Prop 65.

  • ron

    Vice is such a fcking waste of time and money. Go catch some real criminals you losers!!! Have you ever heard of a victimless crime? Douche bags

  • dailydebacle

    Didn't see the time of the raid. If it was during day shift, I wouldn't be thrilled taking the strippers' pictures.
    Now, if it was prime time….that's another story!

  • DavidM

    It seems SDPD has no criteria for what constitutes a "raid," with the need for weapons ready and full body armor, and a "work permit check" which would only require one or two guys to come in and say "can I see your work permit please?" When is SDPD management going to wake up and realize that the day to day attitude of its personnel is costing credibility points with the people of the City?

  • Fred

    And they wonder why their department is in a shambles as they are with the Feds coming in to check it out.

  • Mouse

    This is how you go about rescuing, detecting, and deterring child sex trafficking, which is rampant at these establishments. Unfortunately, this is real police work. People just don’t have a clue how bad child sex trafficking really is in our country. Those women know what’s going on. Demeaning comments are never appropriate. I hope someone filmed that, but photographing identifying tattoos is pretty standard.

  • srichey321

    Shakedown methinks. Hypocrisy and corruption paid for by our tax dollars.

    Plenty of known illegal activity etc at massage parlors within a 1 mile radius of cheetahs.

    So what do the cops do? The raid a legal joint that has a higher profile. Sounds like someone didn't pay their "protection" money.

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