Suit claims raid of popular strip club in DeKalb was unlawful

Chamblee police SUV in a file photo courtesy of the Georgia Law Enforcement Vehicle Database

Chamblee police SUV in a file photo courtesy of the Georgia Law Enforcement Vehicle Database

Follies, a popular strip club on Buford Highway, is suing the city of Chamblee over what the owners call an illegal late-night raid.

The suit, filed last week in DeKalb County Superior Court, doesn’t dispute that the city’s code allows searches of businesses that serve alcohol. But the club’s owners claim the Feb. 17 raid was excessive because of number of officers used and the disruption to business at 12:45 a.m., which is “peak hours.”

The city police declined to comment because the litigation is pending.

The suit claims officers violated the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

“Officers blocked the front and back exits, causing fear and confusion among patrons and employees, especially those customers who wanted or needed to leave,” the suit alleges. “The City’s police cars were stationed outside Follies with blue lights activated. Five or more masked officers entered the club wearing tactical gear including body armor and with holstered weapons.”

No one was able to leave until 2 a.m., when the officers left after confirming all the workers were properly licensed, the suit alleges.

Follies says the officers had no reason to suspect they’d need an “overwhelming police presence” to conduct the search.

The lawsuit points out that the club won a case against DeKalb County for a similar police raid that took place in 2013, before Follies was annexed into the city.

Also in the suit, the club claims it was given no notice that the city had decided this year to rollback last call from 3 a.m. to 2 a.m. from Monday to Saturday.

Follies is seeking damages to be determined at trial and attorney fees.

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