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Blush strip club's plea for return of off-duty Pittsburgh officers goes to federal court

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Thursday, March 28, 2013, 11:57 p.m.
 

The Pittsburgh police bureau is hurting strip clubs by prohibiting off-duty officers from working security details there, an attorney for Blush said Thursday.

Jonathan Kamin, who represents the Downtown strip club, plans to seek a court injunction to halt a policy that acting Chief Regina McDonald instituted March 13 banning police from providing off-duty security at strip clubs.

The city had the case moved to federal court, saying Blush's complaint alleges constitutional violations. Solicitor Dan Regan declined comment, saying the city would argue its position in court.

Kamin said the city is violating the Constitution's equal protection guarantees by singling out strip clubs. Officers are permitted to work off-duty details at other businesses.

“You can't selectively apply the law, and that's what (McDonald's) doing,” he said.

Kamin said the case was assigned late in the day to a federal judge, so he did not have a chance to ask for an injunction. He plans to do that on Monday.

Blush has always hired private security to work inside the club, Kamin said, but puts armed police officers in uniform at the door. Since the ban went into effect, private security has worked the door, he said.

He described the club as a “pillar of the community,” offering adult entertainment since 1964 without problems. As many as 350 people come to the club on weekends, Kamin said.

The building originally housed the Edison Hotel in 1934 before becoming the New Edison Hotel and, eventually, Blush.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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