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Blush Strip Club Sues For Right To Hire Off-duty Police Officers

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 04/02/13 EDT Updated: 04/02/13 EDT

A Pittsburgh strip club is going to court for the right to hire off-duty cops as security.

Blush, a strip club in the city's cultural district, has long used off-duty officers until a recent order by acting police chief Regina McDonald's March 13 order banned officers from accepting work at "adult" establishments, WPXI-TV reported.

Blush lawyer Jonathan Kamin said he is seeking an injunction to halt the new policy because it violates the Constitution's equal protection guarantees by singling out strip clubs. Under the new order, officers are still permitted to work off-duty details at other businesses.

"You can't selectively apply the law, and that's what (McDonald) doing," he told TribLive.com.

Kamin fears the edict could have "a chilling effect" on the adult entertainment business in Pittsburgh, since off-duty police have provided security for Blush, a strip club in one form or another, for nearly 50 years, KDKA-TV reported.

Kamin's suit is getting support from the local police union.

Michael LaPorte, president of FOP Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, told TribLive.com that the union is in the process of filing a grievance over how the decision was handled.

"With any policy changes, (McDonald) has to notify the union," he said. "She just unilaterally changed policy. The only way we know is because we read it in the paper."

The new policy was imposed when the practice of letting off-duty officers work other jobs became widely criticized in the wake of last week's federal indictment of former Chief Nate Harper, Officer.com reported.

On Friday, Harper said he will plead guilty to charges that he conspired to steal city police funds deposited into unauthorized police credit union accounts and failed to file federal tax returns from 2008 to 2011.

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