SAN DIEGO, CA – A dancer at Cheetah’s Gentlemen’s Club says she was roughed up by the cops in retaliation for filing a claim against the San Diego Police Department.
“They were like, oh, this one works at Cheetahs,” said Heather Durden, a badly bruised 21-year old who was taken to jail early Thursday morning.
She says was walking to her apartment at 2 a.m. when a patrol car pulled up and asked to see her identification.
“Everything was fine until they found out where I worked.”
Then she says another patrol car arrived and she was handcuffed and put in the back of car.
“I didn’t have any idea what I was being arrested for or if I was being arrested,” said Durden who says she asked repeatedly, but no one would say anything to her. “I kept asking and asking and they said nothing.”
She admits she had been drinking alcohol and had moved her bound hands from the back of her body to the front – that’s when things got really rough.
“They threw me on the ground,” said Durden, explaining that one officers was on her back while the other was holding up her legs, “they hog tied me and then threw me in the back of the car.”
Lying on her stomach, with her feet and hands bound behind her, without a safety belt, the female officer drove her to Las Colinas Woman’s Detention Facility in Santee.
“I’m pretty sure it was on purpose,” said Durden, who has a severe black eye, swollen forehead and bruised cheek among other injuries, “my head kept going against the door jerking me around the back of the car. I kept screaming because it hurt and they kept telling me to shut up.”
Durden is one of the Cheetah’s dancers who earlier this week filed a claim against the department after vice officers raided the strip club and took naked pictures of the dancers.
“It happened right after we filed the claim and it made a big media splash,” said defense attorney Dan Gilleon, who is representing both claims, “it was an embarrassment for the police all over the country.”
Gilleon says the officers had no right to detain Durden in the first place and that this is a clear case of retaliation.
“These officers could be out there looking for actual criminals and instead they handcuffed and hog-tied a young girl, took her out to Santee for nothing. They didn’t even charge her with anything.”
Durden spent 8 hours in the hospital getting an ultra sound and CT scan of her brain. San Diego Police issued a statement late Friday saying Durden was booked for drunk in public and was restrained because she was combative and a danger to herself and property.