Strippers at a Kearny Mesa adult club who had photographs of their tattoos taken by San Diego police officers filed a claim against the city of San Diego Monday.

The 25 employees of Cheetahs contend they were detained against their will by SDPD officers for about one hour on March 6, without a warrant or probable cause that any crime had been committed, according to the claim filed by lawyer Dan Gilleon.

The police, who were conducting an inspection, “had no legitimate safety concerns, nor were the manner of the detentions commensurate with any articulable threat,” Gilleon alleged in the claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit.

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

The nude club at 8105 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. is subject to occasional police inspections as part of a city-issued license. 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.

Longtime club manager Rich Buonantony told Fox 5 San Diego that he opened the door to the police that evening, and three officers wearing bullet proof vests and with firearms at their hips ran inside.

They then took the women into a back locker room and took the photographs, while the women were dressed in bras and panties and high heels, or were nude, Buonantony said.

The women are required to have an adult entertainment license.

The inspection came amid an uproar over recent cases of misconduct among San Diego police officers, often sexual in nature. Some of the instances were proven, such as a former officer convicted of soliciting sexual favors from female drunken driving suspects.

— City News Service

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.