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Pittsburgh strip club asks judge to return off-duty police security

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 6:18 p.m.

A Downtown strip club is seeking to bar Pittsburgh police from forbidding off-duty officers to work security details there.

Attorney Jonathan Kamin, who represents Blush, is scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Thursday to seek an injunction to block the new policy.

Kamin filed a complaint in Common Pleas Court on Wednesday claiming that acting police Chief Regina McDonald's decision March 13 to prohibit off-duty officers from working at any adult-entertainment establishment violates the club's constitutional rights.

“She's saying our business is inappropriate and puts a bad light on the City of Pittsburgh police officers, and we think that couldn't be further from the truth,” Kamin said. “The police chief has a duty, as an enforcer of the law, to enforce the law in an even-handed and appropriate manner.”

Neither city solicitor Dan Regan nor McDonald returned calls for comment.

Michael LaPorte, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, said he disagreed with the policy change because it contradicts the union's agreement with the city.

“I don't think it's out of malice; it's just out of lack of knowledge,” LaPorte said.

The FOP last week filed a grievance with the department over the change. McDonald has not responded, he said.

Kamin called Blush “a Pittsburgh landmark” visited by 250 people every weekday and 350 on weekend days. Blush has employed off-duty police officers for 48 years, and eliminating the additional security could have a “chilling effect,” he said

“To say we're not entitled to hiring police because we're not a favored class of citizens is, I think, ridiculous,” he said.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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